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Even in Tough Economy, Three of Five People Planning Charitable Gifts this Holiday Season of More Than $50, American Red Cross Survey Finds


Red Cross offers online giving catalog to help families make charitable gifts in the name of others

WASHINGTON - Donating to charity is an important holiday tradition with many families planning to give at least $50 to charitable groups during this holiday season, according to a national survey by the American Red Cross.

Nearly six in 10 of those surveyed planned to donate to charities between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Of that group, 57 percent said they would give $50 or more, including 31 percent who said they plan to donate more than $100 this holiday season.

“Despite the difficult economy, charitable giving remains important to Americans during the holidays,” said Gail J. McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross survey, taken October 21-24, found that 78 percent of respondents said that helping someone less fortunate is an important part of the holiday tradition for them. More than half (54 percent) said that donating to charity helps them get into the holiday spirit.

About a third (32 percent) said they are not planning charitable donations over the holidays, with half of them (52 percent) saying they just don’t have the money to donate. The Red Cross survey found that while 86 percent of respondents said their personal finances were the same or worse than last year, 72 percent plan to donate about the same or more than last year.

Red Cross offers “Gifts that Save the Day” in Holiday Giving Campaign

With many people doing their holiday shopping online, the Red Cross is offering a range of more than 20 giving options in its holiday giving catalog ( for those who want to make a donation in the name of someone else. The Red Cross also offers a Spanish-language version of the online catalog,

The gift ideas include donations equal to the costs of providing food and shelter to someone in a shelter, vaccinations, blankets, and phone cards and comfort kits for members of the military.

“The tough economy is causing more and more people to seek help from the Red Cross and other non-profits at a time where it’s generally more and more difficult to raise money,” McGovern said. “We are working hard to raise money now so the Red Cross will be there tomorrow with help and hope when people need it most, down the street, across the country, and around the world.”

The purchase of each gift item is a tax-deductible contribution to the overall mission of the American Red Cross. On the rare occasion when donations exceed the need in a particular area, we will use your contribution to help others where the need is greatest.

Practical Gifts More Popular in 2010

The Red Cross survey found that more than a third (36 percent) said that they planned to buy more useful practical gifts such as clothing, gift cards and household items, with less than one in 10 (7 percent) planning to buy more unique and fun gifts. More than half – 51 percent – said their gift-buying would be about the same this year.

In addition, the Red Cross survey found that more than half (53 percent) agreed that a good way to give more to charities is to ask someone to donate to charity instead of buying gifts.

“The holiday season is a time of hope, and a gift to the Red Cross provides hope when the next disaster strikes, when a neighbor’s house burns down, when someone needs life-saving blood or when a child needs a hug and a blanket after a disaster,” McGovern said.

*These results are based on a national probability sample of 1,005 telephone interviews among adults 18 years and older living in private households in the continental United States, conducted from October 21-24, 2010. The margin of error for data based on total sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted by CARAVAN®, an omnibus service of Infogroup | ORC for American Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


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