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Internet seen boosting holiday giving

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Despite the economic downturn, online giving to U.S. nonprofits will exceed $3 billion during the 2008 holiday season, says a survey commissioned by Convio.

More than half of Americans who use the Internet, or about 89 million people, plan to make online charitable donations from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, says the U.S. Online Retail Consumer Survey.

Nearly seven in 10 Americans surveyed said they plan to give the same amount or more as they did last year.

“While still smaller in total dollars raised, it is clear that online giving has joined traditional channels as a mission-critical part of the giving mix,” Gene Austin, CEO of Convio, says in a statement.

More than four in 10 U.S. consumers said they will give to social-service organizations such as food banks and homeless shelters, while over three in 10 plan to donate to faith-based and health-care organizations.

Those who plan to donate online during the holidays ranked charities’ websites as the most useful tool to encourage charitable giving, followed by e-mail appeals from family and friends.

Convio provides management and marketing software for nonprofits.

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