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How is recession affecting what people give?

November 23, 2009

The statistics are gathering as we near the end of the year and the traditional heavy season for charitable giving. Between now and December 31 many nonprofits typically receive a large portion of their annual gifts, and some signs are worrying.

Associated Press reported recently that a Harris Interactive Poll shows 38 percent of Americans saying they are more likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present this year. That figure last year was 49 percent. The same number of people seem to be giving, pollsters said, but they are giving less.

A survey reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows that many fundraising organizations are expecting lower income, approximately 9 percent for 2009. At the same time, a survey commissioned by World Vision found that 74 percent of Americans plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves.

More cheerful news came from the Red Cross, which said people who plan to cut back on holiday gifts and parties still want to do what they can for charity. Only 20 percent of those surveyed planned to cut their donations between now and the end of the year, 17 percent expected to give more and 62 percent the same amount.

Your Community Foundation is one of those already planning to do more, with many grants in 2009 focused on nonprofit operations. It’s important to keep our nonprofit partners healthy, especially in a time when needs are great.

As you visit with friends and family this season, think about how you can stretch your own gift-giving to make a difference through the charity of your choice. Even in a recession, we have so many blessings compared to others, and your gift definitely counts!

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