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How women are changing charitable giving

October 2022

Women are becoming a growing force in philanthropy, transforming how and where wealth is donated.


Research shows that about two-thirds of charitable donations are made by women, including those who are single or run the family’s finances, and across both race and ethnicity.


More women are joining the ultra-wealthy ranks as well, empowering them to donate to causes close to their hearts. Women’s global wealth is expected to rise to at least US$81-trillion by 2023, according to a Boston Consulting Group analysis, up from US$34 trillion in 2010. Some notable women philanthropists in this category are inspiring others to give, such as Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mackenzie Scott, to name a few.


In Canada, research shows women are expected to control 48 per cent of the country’s financial wealth by 2026, up from 35 per cent in 2016, and tend to donate a higher proportion of their investable assets to charity than men.


Women do more than give money; they donate a lot of time to charities, more so than men, according to at least one study, making them an even more powerful frontline presence in philanthropy today.


The ways women give back


Women often start their philanthropic journey by making smaller donations when they receive a charitable plea online, in the mail, through a friend or at a fundraising event. Then, once their wealth grows, many look for ways to donate large sums to causes where they feel they can have a greater impact.


The process includes not just writing cheques but investigating charities before donating funds, including how much of the money goes directly to the cause. Many donors, especially those giving larger gifts, also want to ensure they receive ongoing metrics showing how their donations help bring change.


According to one survey, women spend more time on due diligence than men before making a charitable donation. They also expect more communication and engagement with the charities they support.

Women also tend to give money to a wider number of charities, with some preferred causes in areas such as poverty, health, children, women’s rights and education.

In addition, women tend to be more involved in collective forms of giving, such as giving circles, a powerful, newer way of donating funds. They also tend to involve their children more in their giving efforts, helping to build a philanthropic legacy and impact across generations.


Supporting women who give


As more women look for charitable causes to support, it’s important they have the tools and resources to give in ways that are both impactful and tax-efficient.


Charitable giving and strategic philanthropic planning are  part of the holistic wealth management process at Gluskin Sheff. Our wealth management professionals work with high-net-worth individuals and families  to refine their philanthropic goals, which includes thoughtful, detailed conversations to help them develop a giving plan as part of their broader wealth management goals.


Our in-house donor-advised fund (DAF), the Gluskin Sheff Foundation for Philanthropy, is designed to facilitate giving. A DAF is popular option for philanthropists looking to have the administration and charitable assets professionally managed. In the DAF structure, donors recommend to the foundation which charities should receive grants and when, and receive an immediate tax deduction for their contribution. The funds can then be distributed immediately to the charities of choice, or at a later date. Donors can also remain anonymous to the registered charities receiving their funds.


For many, it’s a simple and fulfilling way to create a philanthropic legacy. Many financial institutions, such as Gluskin Sheff, have in-house philanthropic experts and established partnerships with donor-advised funds to facilitate your giving. For more information on the Gluskin Sheff Foundation for Philanthropy, contact 1-416-681-8940 or

Gluskin Sheff Foundation for Philanthropy

We’d be delighted to discuss how we can meet your philanthropic needs.

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