Digital Marketing & Fundraising, Major & Principal Giving, Strategic Planning

At BWF, we offer a suite of services including digital strategy development. As part of the strategy development process, we analyze, craft, and build targeted audiences for cultivation purposes. One audience and strategy that has been of interest to our clients is finding and delivering targeted messaging to high-net-worth constituents on Facebook. Recently, we helped one of our clients find 40 new major gift prospects with this technique. As we continue to extract data and analyze audiences, interesting patterns are emerging. One of the more interesting patterns is the growth of wealthy women on Facebook.

First, some background on the general wealth information within Facebook’s database.

There are 2.7 million targetable individuals in the United States on Facebook with $3 million+ in liquid assets on hand.

These high-net-worth individuals are a diverse group of individuals with many hundreds of thousands of minable data points. For this article, we selected just over 2,000 data points for extraction and analysis. What follows is a sampling of the data points that stood out. For ease of consumption, we have summarized our findings in the form of a persona, a descriptive semi-fictional representation of the most significant attributes within the high-net-worth audience on Facebook.

Meet Susan

Meet Susan and her husband Jim. Susan represents the 1.5 million digitally active women (56%) on Facebook who have $3 million or more in liquid investable assets on hand.

Susan is active on Facebook, checking her account multiple times a day via her smartphone (85%). She is likely married (44%), and a Baby Boomer (48%) with adult children (18%). She and her husband own a home (96%) worth at least $500K (50%). She leans politically conservative (38%). She has a degree (63%) and is likely to be a senior executive (59%) of a company with less than 10 employees (62%). She is likely to be interested in family (55%), business (44%), friendships (36%), higher education (30%), rock music (27%), motherhood (26%), reading (26%), physical fitness (22%), recipes (22%), running (20%), real estate (20%), wine (19%), coffee (18%), theatre (16%), and comedy movies (14%). With the exception of gardening (23%), politics (21%), and golf (17%), she does not allocate much time for hobbies.

In our estimation, the 1.5-million-strong-“Susan” audience’s most striking characteristic is their self-reported pattern of regular philanthropic giving to a number of causes, but especially to political causes (70%), health causes (37%), and environmental causes (18%).

This female Facebook audience is a powerful force for philanthropic good. Forward-thinking nonprofits have already begun developing digital engagement strategies to target and engage these women online. We believe it is time for many more organizations to advance their digital strategy with targeted engagement.

Further Data on Women and Wealth Trends

Still on the sidelines about the digital opportunity? Let’s look at the Facebook data in the context of other studies, surveys, and reports released over the last couple of years.

We believe…

“Women, especially wealthy women, are on social media regularly and increasingly in the philanthropic driver’s seat.”

Other studies have found…

  • Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy estimates that women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion intergenerational wealth transfer expected over the next few decades. They further found that 90% of the philanthropic decisions in high-net-worth households were attributed to women.
  • In a survey conducted by RBC Wealth Management of 1,752 women in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. with investable assets of $4 million or more, respondents reported that they yet expected to receive a significant transfer of wealth; 57% reported they already had received the transfer. Of this same group, 84% said they were fully or partially responsible for the family’s investment portfolio.
  • The Financial Concerns of Women Report found that women currently control 51%, or $14 trillion, of personal wealth in the U.S. and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020. Additionally, they found that women are the primary breadwinners in more than 40% of American households, which is an almost fourfold increase since 1960. Women now hold the majority (52%) of management, professional, and related positions in the U.S. Women also own 30% of all private businesses, employing more than 7.8 million Americans.

Quick Strategy Recommendations

  1. Build a Digital Strategy Around Women. Fifty-six percent of Facebook’s 2.7 million wealthy individuals are women. Other studies confirm this trend and provide further evidence that more women are controlling more wealth and making more of the purchasing and philanthropic decisions than ever before. It is our belief that this trend is an opportunity for nonprofits. It is an opportunity to develop a strong digital strategy to engage, cultivate, and seek the philanthropic investment of women.
  2. Echo Similar Targeting in Other Marketing. Consider unifying your online targeting and messaging with other channels. Consider developing female, events, direct mail appeals, and phone segments.
  3. Take It One Step at a Time. This strategy does not need to be an enormous undertaking. Start small with a modest goal and associated campaign. Measure as you go, and grow as the results warrant. Starting with just a few hundred dollars targeting a small segment with a specific call to action can teach you a lot about future potential.