Friday, March 21, 2008

Charity Donors are Happier than Stingy People

This piece from today's Chronicle of Philanthropy web site says it all:

March 21, 2008

Charity Donors Are Happier Than Stingy People, New Research Finds

People who give away money are happier than those who do not, according to new research published today in the journal Science.

Elizabeth W. Dunn, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, started her experiment by trying to prove the ways in which accumulating money led to more happiness. She and two colleagues surveyed 632 Americans, asking about their level of happiness, personal spending habits, and how much they donate to charity, reports Forbes.

Ms. Dunn found that while people tend to think that spending money on themselves rather than giving it away will make them happier, the opposite turns out to be true. The researchers used a variety of settings and tactics to test the hypothesis that giving away money leads to more happiness, and the results held — whether on a college campus and in a corporate setting.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New film about the income gap

I heard an interesting piece on NPR this morning about a new documentary film by Jamie Johnson, young heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. His new film is called "The One Percent," and it focuses on the concentration of wealth in the U.S. among a smaller and smaller group of families. I really liked his last documentary, which was about young heirs like him and their attitudes towards money, the world of work, etc. Check out the interview on NPR's web site.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unmarried Women Give More to Charity than Unmarried Men

The web site of the Association of Fundraising Professionals reports the following: "Unmarried women contribute more to charity on average in every income category as compared to unmarried men, according to the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College University."

While households headed by unmarried men gave an equal amount to charity as households headed by unmarried women, "female-headed households earned just 71 percent of the income and owned only 55 percent of the net worth of male-headed households. Controlling for income, unmarried women gave slightly more than unmarried men at lower income levels, with the disparity growing wider as income levels rose." For example, in households earning more than $200,000, unmarried men donated an average of $6,526, and unmarried women donated an average of $28,171.

This should tell fundraisers something about where they should concentrate their efforts! Particularly because "there were 31 million households headed by unmarried women in the U.S. in 2004, compared to just 17 million households headed by unmarried men. On aggregate, giving by unmarried females exceeded $23 billion while giving by unmarried males reached just $12 billion."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

10,000 Women

Today, Goldman Sachs announced a $100 million investment in an organization called 10,000 Women - a program that will offer business training to women entrepreneurs in developing countries around the world. What an amazing program! Through my travels in places like Uganda and India, I have personally seen the ways in which (uneducated or under-educated) women can take the most meager of resources and build small businesses to help their families and communities: from weaving tribal shawls to sell to visiting tourists, to running small home based bed&breakfasts, these women can be powerful drivers for the local economy. Some of the top business schools in the U.S. are partnering on this project.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Americans Volunteer!

One of the things that makes me proud to be an American... I just saw this in the Association of Fundraising Professionals' web site:

"(Feb. 25, 2008) The percentage of Americans who volunteer grew by 10 percent in 2007, according to a study by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The survey, which polled 1,000 adults across the United States, found that 74 percent of American adults said they participated in some type of volunteer service in 2007."

I think it's pretty incredible that approximately 74% of American's volunteer! We are a nation of generous people. Now, if only our foreign aid could catch up to the rest of our giving spirit... but that's a blog post for another day...