How 2020 Women Donors Funded Biden-Harris for Election Victory

2020 women donors may go down in history as having been the first class of women donors to drive massive political change in one election. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Joe Biden’s campaign for President saw a massive surge in funding, particularly from women, when he chose Kamala Harris as his running mate in August.

(Image Credit: Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash)

According to a report in CNN, the Biden-Harris ticket received over $33.4 million in itemized contributions from women in August, more than doubling the total amount of contributions from female donors the previous month of $13.7 million. In comparison, Trump’s campaign raised only $8.7 million from women in August.

As the article reports, women have been flooding the Biden-Harris campaign with cash in order to hammer home their strong support for the Harris nomination. Some of the largest donors to Harris have been her sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha at Howard University, who have provided more than 22,000 donations of $19.08 in honor of the year the sorority was founded.

A little boy joining the March to Celebrate & Protect The Results NYC last Saturday November 7, 2020 at Columbus Circle organized by ACLU and National Lawyers Guild (Photo Credit: Romi Matibag, Unsplash)

Women Donors Were a Huge Deciding Factor

The very strong support for Biden-Harris among female donors comes at a time in our history where women are stepping into their power across multiple layers of culture. In politics, finance, the arts, and sports, to name just a few arenas of change, women are becoming stronger influencers and power-brokers. Women are estimated to have contributed roughly $2 billion to federal candidates this election cycle, nearly doubling the amount, $1.3 billion, donated in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran for President.

Women donors accounted for an astounding 44% of all political donating this election cycle, the highest percentage on record.

White House, Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, USA (Image Credit: Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash)

What Does This Mean for Women in Philanthropy?

A stunning 298 women ran for general election seats in the US House in this past election year. A great deal of the cultivation of these 298 women came from grassroots organizations identifying and training potential political candidates. This means that funding organizations like She Should Run and Higher Heights is a great idea, and should probably be doubled for the next election cycle, to really maximize the impact. Other groups like the Electing Women Alliance, Winning for Women, and EMILY’s List are also great examples of organizations that are taking the issue of electing women by the reins and driving results at the polls.

Funding Multiple Layers of Culture to Promote Change

It also means that cultivating gender equality giving more broadly in the next four years should be a priority. It takes multiple levels of society discussing gender equality at the same time in order for the impact to really take hold. Hence, continuing to fund gender equality in politics, sport, finance, and the arts will all contribute to a cultural shift toward valuing women and girls appropriately and and enabling them to lead.

The Center for Responsive Politics ( identifies the gender of donors using algorithms from the US Census and donor reports from the Federal Election Commission. More about CRP here.


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Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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