Giving Compass' Take:

• Research from the Women's Philanthropy Institute reveals how gender, wealth, and education levels influence impact investing preferences. 

• One of the trends discussed is the shift away from philanthropy toward charitable giving among some groups. Is impact investing the right vehicle for your philanthropic goals? 

• Learn the basics of impact investing.

Impact investing combines the goals of financial and philanthropic capital: those who use this approach still desire a financial return on their investment, but also seek to improve society or the environment in some way with those same investments. In such a new and growing field, research is needed to show who is using this approach, and why. A 2010 study found that women investors were more interested, relative to men, in socially responsible investments; additionally, younger, single, more educated, and less wealthy women were the most likely to make such investments. As impact investing becomes a more well-known and accessible approach, this may no longer be the case.

Key Findings:

1: Knowledge gaps exist in the field of impact investing; those who are aware of impact investing differ in key ways from those who want to learn more about it. Women and men are equally likely to be aware of impact investing, but women are more likely to want to learn about impact investing.

2: Impact investors are younger, more educated, and have higher incomes. Women and men are equally likely to make impact investments, but gender differences appear for specific groups of people (examined by income or education level, for example).

3: People who impact invest in place of charitable giving are younger, more educated, and have higher incomes. Households where men make charitable giving decisions (either as single men, or as sole deciders in their marriages) are more likely to replace charitable giving with impact investing.

Source: The Women's Philanthropy Institute.