Gender Trends: The causes men and women prefer when donating through GiveNow


We examined whether men and women give differently through GiveNow. We found that women are three times more likely to donate to Animal Welfare causes on GiveNow than men, and are also more likely to favour Women, International and Multicultural causes. Men, in turn, donate twice as frequently to Gay & Lesbian causes, and are also more likely to favour Science & Technology, Education & Scholarships and Sports & Recreation-focused causes. Women are more likely to give small amounts more frequently than men, while men are more likely to donate large amounts less frequently (the combined effect of which is more or less equal giving by women and men). People give more money in total through one-off donations than recurring donations through GiveNow. This trend Is particularly pronounced for donations to Animal Welfare and Arts & Culture causes.


To examine donor preferences by gender, we analysed all donations made through GiveNow, one of Australia's leading donation platforms, from March 2001 to August 2016, grouping all donations by the category of the cause they were made to. We then charted the ratios of men:women and recurring:one-off donations in the interactive visualisation published here.

The cause "bubbles" that appear towards the right-hand side of the chart correspond to cause categories that attract more donations from women, while categories on the left-hand side are more popular among men.

We also examined whether there were gender differences in donation patterns - whether one gender or the other favoured one-off or recurring donations. The vertical dimension indicates whether cause categories are more likely to receive recurring (towards the top) or one-off (towards the bottom) donations.

Because there is a difference between the number of donations causes in a certain category receive and the total value of those donations, the interactive chart also allows you to switch between the corresponding ratios. The cause bubbles are sized accordingly, either by the number of donations that the causes in a particular category received, or the total donation value.

Women and men have distinct cause preferences

After Animal Welfare causes, causes that support women show the second-highest discrepancy in gender preferences. Women donated 2.8 times more frequently than men to Women causes. Other popular categories among women are Multicultural and International causes, including many charities and not-for-profits involved in international aid and supporting refugees. Animal Welfare, Multicultural and International causes also happen to be the three bubbles closest to the top of the chart, showing that many women who donate to these causes also prefer to do so using recurring donations.

Gay & Lesbian, Science & Technology, and Education & Scholarships causes are the most popular categories for men, with men:women ratios of 2.2, 1.3 and 1.3, respectively. Men are also 1.7 times more likely to donate to Sports & Recreation causes (listed below the chart) than women.

$6 billion+ AUD Australians donate annually - these patterns match well with previous academic studies of gender donation preferences for cause categories such as Animal Welfare and Sports & Recreation.

Women donate more frequently, men donate larger amounts

Switch between viewing the preferences in terms of the number of donations and the total amount donated, and you'll notice that most of the cause bubbles shift towards the left. This indicates that women tend to donate more frequently, while donations made by men tend to be of larger value. We have previously shown that, for many causes on GiveNow, these two effects cancel each other out. As a result, the total amount donated by men and women is approximately equal for cause categories in the middle, such as Children & Families and Arts & Culture.

Older People causes shift particularly far to the left when viewing the total amount donated, from a 1.1 women:men ratio to a 2.6 women:men ratio. Animal welfare remains on the right-hand side, with women donating 2.3 times more to animal welfare causes, in total amount, than men. The only cause category that shifts towards the right is Rural & Regional, for which women donate 1.2 times more frequently, but also 1.4 times more in terms of the total amount donated, compared to men.

Underlying the observation that women donate more frequently may be the knowledge that women exhibit stronger "prosocial values," feeling more compassionate about others in trouble, and having a stronger moral conviction that it is good to help fellow human beings.

One-off donations generate the highest donation value for all cause categories

Viewing the categories in terms of the total amount donated reveals that the amount donated through one-off donations is larger than the amount donated through recurring donations for all cause categories. The ratios range from 1.9 times higher donation value through one-off donations for Animal Welfare causes, to 11.6 times higher donation value for Arts & Culture donations (and even higher ratios for the outliers listed below the chart).

Switching back to the view in terms of the number of donations shows a more moderate split between some cause categories attracting more one-off donations (2.6x for Older People causes) and other categories attracting more recurring donations (2.6x for Multicultural causes).

Want to learn more?

Download the full GiveNow study. Questions? Comments? Let us know!


Joost van der Linden
Data Scientist, Our Community

With the help of:

Jarred Slomoi
General Manager, GiveNow
Cathy Truong
Executive Director, GiveNow
Paola Oliva-Altamirano
Data Scientist, Our Community
Sarah Barker
Director of Data Intelligence, Our Community
Kathy Richardson
Executive Director, Our Community
Denis Moriarty
Group Managing Director, Our Community