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Donors start cutting back

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The economic crisis is beginning to take a toll on donors, with more than half the respondents in a recent online poll saying they have either reduced or suspended their contributions.

That comes as more than eight in 10 say they have become more concerned about their personal finances over the past year, says the national survey of over 1,000 adults, conducted by Capital One.

“When people tighten their wallet, philanthropy is often the first to feel the squeeze,” Bob Ottenhoff, president of GuideStar, says in a statement. “During difficult economic times, the challenges facing nonprofits are two-fold: People are giving less and need is rising.”

Fewer than one in five survey respondents say there are cutting back on spending in other areas in order to maintain their regular charitable giving.

Elderly Americans are more likely to reduce their giving when money is tight, the survey says, with two in three seniors giving less, compared to slightly more than half of Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers.

And it is more likely that women say they have cut back on their giving because of financial concerns than men.

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