The 2016 U.S. presidential election was contentious and polarizing. For the first time, a woman was the presidential candidate of a major political party. Nearly $2.4 billion was raised for the two major party presidential campaigns. Americans voted with their wallets by contributing to the campaigns, or to associated Super PACs and political parties – and then they voted by ballot on November 8, 2016.
As election results were tallied and announced, some nonprofit organizations and causes began to report substantial fundraising increases. The popular media began to refer to “rage giving” – the concept of donors giving to charity in response to election results, often to causes that had been debated during the campaign such as minority rights, reproductive rights, and climate change.
This study aims to provide insights on donations during the unique time period around the 2016 U.S. presidential election, using gift data from an online donation platform. Did giving to charitable organizations increase after the election? What causes benefited from post-election philanthropy? This study also seeks to understand whether there were gender differences in giving around the 2016 U.S. presidential election. More than a decade of research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute has confirmed that women and men exhibit different patterns of giving and are motivated to give by different factors.
Here are the key findings:
- Charitable giving was lower than expected immediately following the 2016 election.
- Lower charitable giving after the 2016 election was concentrated among men; women’s giving did not experience the same election effect.
- Charitable giving after the 2016 election increased significantly for relevant progressive charities.
- The increase in charitable giving to relevant progressive charities after the 2016 election was driven primarily by women donors.