Events like Hurricane Sandy tend to bring our lives into sharp relief. Those of us near or in the storm are acutely focused on what matters–food, water, safety, and communication for ourselves and our loved ones. The heroes stand out, as do the generous folks donating, opening their homes, and showing us that no matter what times we live in, we can count on each other when it matters.
What we don’t see as much of outside the backdrop of extreme events is the growing number of people who are incorporating generosity in their everyday lives–especially women.
According to a recent study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Boomer women give a whopping 89% more than men of their generation, This was true even when controlling for other factors, such as income. Women give even when they don’t have much to draw on.
The report noted that this generation of women has also started numerous charitable organizations, many of which specifically support women and girls and causes that affect them.
What does this mean in the context of headlines such as these? Boomer Women–Courted by Candidates–Struggle in Recession’s Wake, Can Boomer Women Afford to Retire?, Boomer Women Worry More About Financial Future.
Will women continue to give despite anxieties about their own future? As the world needs more from us, will we have less to give?
As important as nonprofit organizations are, they are not enough to solve what could end up being an economic and social crisis that dwarfs the recent recession as Boomer women age, causing this at-risk age group to explode in numbers. Now is the time to act, to prevent this worsening problem.
For-profit organizations need to step up and give back to our communities, our nation, our world. And more people, especially women, need to learn how to create organizations, whether nonprofit or for-profit, that combine making a living and making a difference.
No person or organization can effectively address any social problem if they do not also address ways to make themselves financially sustainable. Women’s attitudes toward money are a serious obstacle in our ability to address needs (in our own lives and in the world). We need to recognize the simple fact that we can’t give back if we have nothing to give in the first place. Profit and purpose can and should go hand in hand if we are truly serious about solving social problems.
Image credit: opensoourceway