Americans optimistic about holiday giving

Holiday giving
Holiday giving

The giving spirit has struck Americans, with 71 percent of people surveyed by the American Red Cross saying they plan to donate the same amount or more to charity this holiday season than last, a new poll says.

And while 45 percent say they will travel less and will spend less on decoration, and 35 percent plan to cut their gift-buying budget, only 26 percent say they will donate less this year than last, says the Red Cross’ Holiday Giving Poll, which was conducted by phone in September and October and generated 1,020 responses.

Of those who do plan to make a charitable donation this season, 54 percent expect to give more than $50, and 85 percent plan to direct their donations to groups serving the poor, while 52 percent want to help people who have a specific disease.

The rosier giving outlook coincides with a stable income outlook in which 52 percent of Americans say their personal finances are about the same as last year, 19 percent say they’re better off, and 28 percent are struggling more.

But for many, economic hardship is still a major concern, with 1 in 10 respondents reporting they have been laid off, and more than a quarter reporting salary cuts or a reduction in work hours.

However, 82 percent Americans say helping others is an important holiday tradition, and 68 percent believe it is even more important this year because of the ailing economy.

Among respondents who feel the need to economize this holiday season, 26 percent say they will cut donations, while35 percent will spend less on gifts for friends and family, and 45 percent plan to trim their budgets for holiday decorations and for travel.

Of the 36 percent of Americans who did not plan to donate to charity between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, 49 percent say they can’t afford to and 14 percent say they’ve already donated all they had planned to give for the year.

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