Segmenting your contacts is a big conversation point among non-profit executives these days. It means taking the time to group different kinds of clientele so you can talk to them in different ways. One way to do this is to create a “persona” for each different group in your huge mailing list. A persona is a fictitious person you create that is the age and gender of your target person. The persona is very specific. You give your person a name. How many kids does he/she have? What is her/his income? What are their goals for getting involved in your organization? It’s part of a very fun process that can help you speak more clearly to the different kinds of people who are involved with your organization. You might be amazed at the difference in your writing style if you are communicating directly to a specific person (even if that person is fictitious)!
I say all that to ask a question. If you were to create a persona of your potential big donors, would they be male or female? For many years, non-profits have assumed that the giving power resides with the man in a family. Conservatives are particularly prone to this stereotype. If women had any influence over the giving, it was just that: influence. In other words, not her money.
A new study on Women and Wealth shows just how much that old stereotype is falling away.* Women described as “high-net-worth” quite often come into marriages with as much or equal assets (from income and inheritance) as their partner. Nearly half are equal or primary earners for their families. In addition, since women tend to live longer than men, they are more likely to be the ones making end of life decisions about their family assets.
All this to say that when you visualize the potential champions of your organization, remember your champion is just as likely to be a woman as a man.