Americans still have giving holiday spirit: poll

Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:39pm EST
 
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By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Despite a lingering recession, only 20 percent of Americans plan to reduce charitable giving during the holiday season, according to a survey.

The poll commissioned by the American Red Cross showed that nearly 70 percent of people believe it is more important to donate this year because of the state of the economy.

"People are still giving," said Roger Lowe of the American Red Cross, "but they're giving less."

He added that the recession has meant that it has never been harder to give but that giving has never felt better.

Donations to charitable causes in the United States reached an estimated $307.6 billion in 2008, a two percent drop from $314.1 billion in 2007, according to Giving USA Foundation, a consultancy for non-profits.

The American Red Cross has experienced a drop in fundraising, registering an average 25 percent dip in individual donations this year, according Lowe.

But he added that economic hardship may have increased solidarity despite money being tighter.

"People realize that there are folks in greater need than they are, and they dig deep to give," he explained.   Continued...

 
<p>U.S. dollar bills are pictured during a photo opportunity at an office of Interbank Inc. money exchange in Tokyo in this November 27, 2009 file photo. Despite a lingering recession, only 20 percent of Americans plan to reduce charitable giving during the holiday season, according to a survey. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>