What is Vote With Your Purse?
Vote With Your Purse is a nationally acclaimed research study that examines trends in women’s political giving and financial power, women’s political fundraising results in election years, as well as provides concrete ideas on how to tap the “power of the purse” for the 2008 and 2010 elections. Women's Campaign Forum Foundation (WCF Foundation) has identified a historic opportunity to fundamentally change women’s approach to political giving.
What Women Want. How Women Give.
Money matters in politics. But according to Vote With Your Purse, conducted by WCF Foundation in partnership with the Center for Responsive Politics and Lake Research partners, women just don’t give enough. When women don't give, they don't get a voice. And without a voice, they can't effect change.
On all levels of political giving, women are outspent by men. WCF Foundation dug deeper to find out why.
- Women's income has risen more than 60 percent in the last 30 years, but women represent only 27 percent of individual hard money contributions to candidates, party committees and PACs
- Women drive charitable giving but don't associate political contributions with the social change of charitable contributions
- Mobilizing more political giving from women will require an emphasis on the 5 I’s that motivate women : impact, inspiration, information, inclusion and interaction
Based on these findings, WCF Foundation has developed the following suggestions for candidates working to increase contributions from women donors:
- Emphasize the impact they will have on specific issues
- Better inspire women by describing political giving as a civic or social responsibility, like voting or volunteering
- Provide multiple sources of independent information about their platform
- Include women in the process by making more transparent how the money will be used
- Provide opportunities for women donors to interact with campaign supporters and staff, and, of course, the candidate
In A Year That Brought Banner Progress For Women, Study Shows Women Still Don’t Open Their Wallets. The longer women fail to increase their political giving, the longer it will take to achieve gender parity in public office.
Key Findings from the 2009 Vote With Your Purse update:
- The 2008 cycle saw a continuation of disproportionate political giving between men and women donors. In 2008,women cast eight million more ballots than men, but made only 31.4 percent of total political contributions.
- Women are not making the political investments necessary to achieve gender parity. Not only are women being outspent politically by men, they're also not making the investments necessary in women candidates - Only 35 % of women's contributions were to female Congressional candidates.
- As a result, Women candidates struggle to match the fundraising totals of their male counterparts. The top three male incumbents raised $16 million more than the top three female incumbents.
- The data from 2008 is not very different than the one from 2006: More needs to be done if we want more women in political office. Stating bare statistics won’t change the political picture of the country and won’t resolve the issue that women don’t give money to support other women running for office.
Vote With Your Purse would not have been possible without our donors, including among others:
Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation
The Honorable Swanee Hunt
Barbara Lee Foundation
Ms. Deborah McManus
Ms. Connie K. Duckworth
Ariel Capital Management, LLC
Jewish Communal Fund
With every research initiative we launch, WCF Foundation's Vote With Your Purse program will strive to understand what women want - and how women give. It will serve as a blueprint for candidates, organizations and activists with a mission to drive women's political giving. It will also serve as a launchpad for women with a passion for social change and the desire to build a powerful political force.