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  • Writer's pictureMichele Rebeor

Women's Philanthropy Program

In order to develop a successful women’s-giving program, nonprofits must adapt to the changing face of philanthropy. This means a willingness to examine and perhaps redefine your organization’s fundraising philosophies and metrics.

To begin with, consider questions such as:

• Are your current fundraising tactics transactional, or do they foster relationships? • Do you reward fundraisers for building relationships or simply for hitting numeric goals? • Do your leaders, board members, and volunteers understand their role in your fundraising success? • Can you provide timely, ongoing communication about the value of gifts, offer meaningful activities for women to get involved, and convey the real impact of women’s gifts through stories and data?

Many nonprofit leaders may wonder: How can we afford to add a women-focused program? To be truly successful, a female-focused strategy should be integrated into your fundraising, not viewed as separate from other development programs.

This does not have to mean big investments, additional staffing, or organizational restructuring — unless, of course, that's the route you prefer.

A female-focused philanthropic strategy can be as simple as taking the following steps:

• Integrate concepts proven by research into staff education and existing programs. • Audit your communication materials to ensure women are well represented in photographs, stories, gift recognition, and news. • Manage your database so you have the ability to acknowledge and report on a woman’s gift individually, and by household.

Your approach could be as extensive as establishing a named program with staff, a mission, and a strategy that inspires women to give and get involved. Or, you could choose any of several options that fall in between, such as: • Conducting research on female donor prospects and measuring women’s gifts separately in your fundraising analytics. • Reorganizing board(s) and/or executive leadership teams to ensure women are well represented. • Establishing volunteer committees with female members to attract other women as supporters.

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