Supporting exceptional careers in philanthropy

Women's philanthropy

New research shows women are the drivers of their families’ philanthropic decisions. Women give more than men—and when they give, they give differently. And yet, most nonprofits and educational institutions are still using "tried and true" fundraising practices that either alienate women or gain only minimal support from them. Better results are possible when fundraising methods adapt to new donor realities.

Led by Kathleen Loehr, one of the country's leading experts on women's philanthropy, ALG's consulting services equip fundraising teams with quantifiable research and new insights on the unique ways that women give. We then coach teams to assess their own donor database and practices and help them reshape their strategies to strengthen and increase their support from women. Specific services include:

Leadership Coaching

  • Coaching for leaders and Advancement teams on implementing adaptations to grow women’s philanthropy
  • Coaching for leaders on principal gift strategies for high net-worth women philanthropists 

Women’s Philanthropy Evaluation, Assessments & Design

  • Audits and assessments on how women are currently giving and what is resonating with them
  • Facilitation for a diverse task force of volunteers and staff providing input on the potential focus for growing women’s philanthropy
  • Design and analysis of survey instruments and focus groups to gather input from women stakeholders
  • Women's philanthropy recommendations that fit the organizational culture and aspirations
  • Tailored principal gift strategies for high net-worth women philanthropists and their families 

Training Programs

  • General training on the national trends in women’s giving and women’s philanthropic preferences
  • Landscape review of peer organizations’ women's philanthropy programs
  • Advancement team training on women’s philanthropy research and adaptations
  • Appreciative Inquiry Workshop with teams to design the specific adaptations for the institution to grow women’s philanthropy

Kathleen Loehr, Senior Consultant

Kathleen Loehr is a nationally recognized leader in women’s philanthropy. Her expertise results from her work across 20 years with universities and nonprofits to more deeply engage women donors. Kathleen is a member of the Advisory Council for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She is the author of Gender Matters: A Practical Approach to Women’s Philanthropy, and a frequent conference presenter, keynote speaker, and webinar host on the topic of adapting our fundraising practices to meet diverse donors as they prefer. Read her full bio.

Her recent presentations include:

  • Gender Matters: A Practical Approach to Grow Women's Philanthropy
    What if we knew that our engrained fundraising “best practices" gain only minimal support from women? Quantifiable research shows how women give differently, and our practices and behaviors need to adapt to engage women donors as they prefer. Participants will learn about the research on how women give. They will also discover how to discern what current practices may unconsciously get in the way of connecting with women, what their own data may be telling them, and what their women stakeholders care about. Finally, they leave with a practical process to tailor new approaches. 
  • Discover First To Grow Women’s Philanthropy
    We’ll focus on what you know, and what you want to learn more about. First, we’ll discuss data – what to look for in your CRM. How are your women donors currently supporting  you? Do you see gaps and/or opportunities?  Second, we’ll discuss the importance of the voice of your women stakeholders to help design how you might grow resources. What are ways to ask them questions (survey, via a newsletter, focus group?) and what are some questions you might ask. Our goal is to listen and learn. If we jump into action too soon, we’ll likely not address our unconscious biases and current practices that may not resonate with women. 
  • From Knowledge to Action: Getting Started
    Based on what you’ve discovered about how your women donors are giving  now and might give in the future to your institution, you are ready to start designing new approaches to meet women as they prefer. Incremental adaptation is best – we are talking about designing new behaviors and practicing them well. What will you focus on first to adapt? What came from your discovery that seems to be a priority to pay attention to? Also, where is your institution: Are you going into a campaign? Do you need to broaden your base of annual support? Grow major or principal gifts? Your data and your institutional priorities will help you design your first adaptations. 

In an era of declining alumni participation and greater dispersion of philanthropy, colleges and universities need to redouble efforts to engage all members of the alumni body, particularly since many institutions have historically underserved women. Doing this successfully requires thoughtful and intentional design and execution, but it begins with training and re-training staff who may not know how to do this effectively. Kathleen Loehr is, quite simply, the expert in women’s philanthropy and she worked with me and our executive leadership team in advancement to design and execute a first-rate training for our entire team. Kathleen’s training model helped our advancement leadership first to learn and apply a highly effective whole-systems model and then for all of our advancement staff to commit to a well understood and agreed upon direction for women’s philanthropy at the university, together with a systemic, detailed plan of action to achieve this.

 - Matthew T. Lambert, Vice President for University Advancement, William & Mary

Resources and Articles

Gender Matters: A Practical Approach to Women’s Philanthropy, Kathleen Loehr, CASE 2018.

“We won’t raise more money unless we stop acting like all donors are white men,” Kathleen Loehr, Chronicle of Philanthropy

Five Things You Need To Know About Women’s Giving Behavior, Kathleen Loehr

For more information, contact:
Kathleen Loehr
Senior Consultant

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