Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Chicago recently conducted a study to find out which gender is more likely to donate to charity. Unfortunately for women, there are some indications that the male gender could be more open to the idea of giving, such as making a car donation in Los Angeles.
The study entitled “The Importance of Being Marginal: Gender Differences in Generosity” sought out respondents from neighborhoods and engaged in a fund-raising drive for an environmental organization and a children’s hospital. Some of the visits were unannounced; while the rest involved fliers distributed to homeowners and returned the following day. The latter form of solicitation gave the subjects the chance to opt out of giving donations.
Three percent of the respondents (both men and women) shelled out money for charity during unannounced solicitations. When they were allowed to opt out, contributions from men suffered a slight drop. For women, however, the donations significantly dropped to about half of the previous contributions.
University of Chicago philanthropy and economics expert John List explained how the methodology affected findings. The solicitation by fliers, List said, lowered the number of people answering the door but not the amount donated, relative to unannounced visits. On the other hand, giving people the option to opt out of the charity lowered both the number of people answering the door and the amount given.
List admits that further study should be done on the generosity profiles of both genders but believes that the study is onto something. It’s possible that women are more sensitive to social cues such as being given the chance to opt out. Other study authors further noted that women opted out when they saw an opportunity to do so; but it doesn’t imply that they’re not willing to help. The study also identified two attitudes that motivate people to donate: altruism and social pressure.
These two attitudes have been seen in past studies as great motives for charitable dole-outs around the country. The funds that tide over various causes and institutions come in cash or in kind, such as a generous car donation in Los Angeles. Harold’s Car Donation Service, a fund-raising firm recognized by the State of California and involved in charitable advocacy since 1997, notes that people would have different rationales for giving. However, the fact that they actually did, and would continue to do so, is what truly matters.