Donor-advised funds and your personality type

Personality type matters, even when it comes to supporting community causes. Your "social impact personality type" is especially important as you gear up to structure your donor-advised fund at the community foundation. A donor-advised fund is a terrific vehicle to help you and your family organize gifts to charities, whether you identify as an "investor," a "connector," or an "activator." 

Why should you ask the professionals at your community foundation about opening a donor-advised fund in the first place, though? Donor-advised funds are the fastest growing philanthropic planning vehicle in today's wealth management marketplace. Donor-advised funds are popular because they allow an individual or family to make a tax-deductible transfer that qualifies as a charitable contribution, and then later recommend gifts to favorite charities from the fund when the time is right. A donor-advised fund operates a lot like a checking account just for charity, except it’s established according to the IRS guidelines that create the tax advantages. Plus, when you establish a donor-advised fund at your community foundation, you know you are setting up your charitable giving to make the biggest impact in the community through the causes you love the most. 

So how does personality type fit into the equation? People who lean toward the investor personality type are typically a good match for setting up a donor-advised fund to maximize tax benefits. If you’re the investor type, you probably enjoy acting independently as much as you enjoy "doing good" with a group. You look at the bottom line when you invest in the community, both from the perspective of your own financial objectives as well as those of the nonprofit organization you support. In other words, you’re looking at charitable giving and social impact as an investment to improve the lives of others, and you want to maximize results not only for the people you intend to help, but also for your own tax and estate planning portfolio. Investors love the elegance of the donor-advised fund to achieve many goals through one vehicle.

Does it work for non-investor types, though? You bet! Activators, who like to focus on a particular cause, are also well-suited for a donor-advised fund because they can gain valuable insights about community impact by working closely with the team at the community foundation. Connectors love donor-advised funds because they enjoy the opportunities through community foundations to get together with other donors and involve their friends and family members in their favorite charitable pursuits.

Investor, activator, connector. Where donor-advised funds are concerned, everybody’s got a good side. What’s yours?


1. Motivate your whole team to get inside the minds of your donors. At your next team meeting, talk about the three social impact personality types of donors and brainstorm about ways you can engage each type to get even more involved with your community foundation. (Download our free e-book to read up on the personality types!)     

2. Convert this article into easy talking points for the next time you or your community foundation's CEO is speaking to a group of potential donors. People love to gain insights about themselves. By talking about your prospects' social impact personality types, you'll automatically create an emotional hook to elevate their interest in working with you.

3. Before your next staff meeting, ask everyone to take the Social Impact Personality Type Quiz embedded on our "book" page. See if your team thinks the quiz gets their type right! Either way, your team will begin to understand why it is so important to elevate the personal touch with donors and prospects in today's work-life-community mindset. We're living in a social impact culture!

Do women "do good" better than men?

Who’s more philanthropic--women or men? If you guessed women, you are correct.

Most people have a general sense that women are more likely than men to get engaged with their favorite causes. What might surprise you, though, are the statistics showing the economic impact of women’s purchasing power when they buy products that support a cause.

It starts with the preferences of all consumers:

  • 79% of consumers said they would likely switch brands based on associations with a good cause, when price and quality are equal

  • 85% of Americans say that they have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about

  • 85% of consumers say it is positive for companies to involve causes in their marketing

So how do women figure into the equation? Women tend to align their lifestyles with social impact activities to a greater degree than men. Not only are women more likely than men to give to charity in the first place, but when they do give, they are likely to give more, especially by exercising their buying power. Women influence or make 85 percent of all consumer purchases, according to Greenfield Online for Arnold’s Women’s Insight Team, and Check out how that breaks down in major consumer spending categories.

Women influence or make purchasing decisions for:

  • 91% of new homes

  • 66% of personal computers

  • 92% of vacations

  • 80% of healthcare

  • 65% of new cars

  • 89% of bank accounts

  • 93% of food

  • 93% of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals

What this means is that savvy brands who target consumers through cause marketing efforts are especially successful when they focus their campaigns on women.

This also means, if you are a woman, remember that your purchasing power counts as doing good! Buying products that support a cause can really add up at the checkout counter, which means you’re making a big difference in the lives of others.

Finally, keep in mind that connecting the dots across all of your charitable giving activities--including purchasing--will help you see the big picture of the difference you're making in your community. Your community foundation is your partner in philanthropy as you and your family celebrate all the ways you are doing good.   


This is a terrific article to kick off a campaign to get women philanthropists even more involved. If you haven't already, build an email list of just women--donors, daughters of donors, women civic and business leaders, women in nonprofit leadership. Push the article in an e-newsletter to this group, or as part of an invitation to a Women in Philanthropy Roundtable.