Social media, a slow economy, and other trends are forcing big changes in holiday gift-giving and charity donations. But trends in giving still point toward the spirit of Christmas.
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
'Tis the season to shop for gifts but here’s news that serves as a reminder of what Christmas is all about:
According to a new poll by the American Red Cross, 8 in 10 people prefer that someone give them a donation to a charity in their name rather than a gift they don’t want.
In other words, give a goat to a hungry girl in Gambia on behalf of a friend or relative who really doesn’t want one more scarf or fruit cake.
The trend in such charity gifts is one way that giving is changing – forcing both holiday shoppers and charities to stay on their twinkle toes this time of year. The biggest changes are driven by a stagnant economy, the ease of social networking, and a rising desire for practical results in selfless giving.
With joblessness so high, for example, about 7 out of 10 Americans say it’s important to give to charity this season – a jump of 10 percentage points from last year. And donations are the last thing that hard-pressed people plan to cut after curbing their holiday travel, parties, and gifts.
That’s music to the ears of charities. They usually collect 30 to 50 percent of their donations during the holidays (especially on Dec. 31, the last day for charitable tax deductions).