Research indicates that more women than ever are finding their philanthropic voices, making their own giving decisions or significantly influencing the giving decisions of their households. But studies conducted in recent years also illuminate an important reality: that there is an unmistakable gender distinction when it comes to giving patterns, motivations, and what inspires philanthropic support. It is essential to develop an understanding of these differences as we seek to engage women and earn their support.
This session will provide an overview of some key data points and will highlight some of the distinctive characteristics of women’s philanthropy, and how those characteristics and preferences impact donor behavior. We will discuss the value of embracing an intentional, deliberate approach geared to women, and will share some suggested approaches that incorporate this awareness into all aspects of our work, including cultivating female donors for significant commitments and stewarding their commitments in meaningful ways.
Betsy Diehl began her development career in 2002. She served as Director of Annual Giving at Hood College, a formerly all-women’s college in Frederick, Md., that transitioned to coeducation in 2003. While at Hood, Diehl earned her master’s degree in the humanities with a concentration in women’s studies and a focus on American philanthropy. Her in-depth research at the Ford Foundation formed the basis for her master’s thesis, “Philanthropy as an Expression of Feminism: Aligning a Traditionally Masculine Concept with a Decidedly Feminist Ideal,” which she successfully defended in 2010 and which earned her the distinction of Outstanding Graduate Student in the Humanities. In 2011, she joined the development team at her alma mater, Gettysburg College, where she currently serves as Associate Vice President of College Advancement and Senior Philanthropic Advisor. At Gettysburg, her roles have included serving as Interim Vice President, Associate Vice President for Development and Donor Relations, Director of Parent and Family Giving, and Major Gifts Officer. She has presented extensively on the topics of: women’s philanthropy; the distinction between philanthropy and charity, and why that matters; and developing a comfort level with seeking philanthropic support.
Prior to her development career, Diehl was a feature writer and columnist for the Baltimore Sun and an editorial assistant and advertising manager at the Stars and Stripes daily newspaper in Germany. She and her husband, Dave, reside in Frederick and are the parents of two grown daughters, Brittany and Hannah.
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