Oh my. It was a terrible news day. Not the impeachment trial. Worse than that. My local Value Village is closing forever on Saturday. Value Village, for those uninitiated, is a thrift store. This particular one was the self-proclaimed largest “gently used” store in Oregon. And, it was my go-to place. When Nordstrom closed earlier this year, I gave it a shrug and a “too bad.” But Value Village? They were lucky I didn’t break down right then and there when I went in the other day. Until another VV comes, I guess it’ll be GW Designer for me (aka, Goodwill).
Through my tears, I did read a recent and terrific study conducted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, which is a part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.
Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color is “the first study to explore the intersection of race, giving and gender.” Check out the cool infographic.
Here are three key findings:
- A donor’s race does not significantly influence giving when controlled for factors like wealth, income, and education.
- Women are more likely to give across race and ethnicity. For all groups, single women are more likely than single men to give to charity; married and cohabitating couples are more likely than either single men or single women to give to charity.
- Formal volunteering shows greater racial and ethnic gaps. Communities of color appear less engaged in formal volunteering, but tend to volunteer informally at higher rates. In addition, women in communities of color embrace an expansive definition of formal and informal philanthropy. To understand this better, check out the Women's Philanthropy Institute's video, “Who is a Philanthropist?”
What are your takeaways?
1. Do not assume who can and cannot give.
2. Consider women as your first go-to when you ask for funding.
3. Celebrate all gifts, no matter how large or small.
4. Recognize other forms of giving. People who give of their time and talent make your congregations and organizations run smoothly and efficiently.
5. As suggested in the report, think about using other words instead of “volunteer.” Alternatives? “Helping out.” “Giving back.” “Community engagement.”
6. Create a welcoming, inclusive environment. Because this sounds a lot simpler than it is, get serious about providing diversity, equity, and inclusion training. If you are part of the dominant culture, don’t assume that you already know how to make everyone feel welcome. It’s OK to ask for help to do better.
As people of faith, we have a lot to learn from this report. Understanding what motivates people to give across gender, race, and ethnicity shows the amazing expanse of God’s people. We are not all alike – and that’s the beauty of it. You may like Nordstrom and I may like Value Village. But, our desire to make this world a better place through giving of our time, talent and treasure is a clear place of commonality. And that’s definitely something to celebrate.