Monday, November 17, 2008

Bad News for Economy -- Good News for Charities?

Bad News for Economy -- Good News for Charities?

New Study Says Americans Will Spend Less This Holiday Season But Will Also Be More Generous and Look for Meaningful Gifts That Help Poor
Weakening Economy Means Less Spending But More Generosity
Encouraging News for Charities as Recession Looms

SEATTLE, November 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- The weakening U.S. economy will force many U.S. adults to cut back on holiday gift spending this year but will also make some more likely to give a "charitable gift" as a present this holiday season, according to a World Vision survey just conducted by Harris Interactive. The study also finds that only 36 percent of U.S. adults feel they need something for the holidays this year.

"These results underscore our altruistic American culture of giving back," says Justin Greeves, Harris Interactive Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Research. "This study, and a recent study by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, both show why total charitable giving has increased in 39 of the last 40 years - even during times of recession," says Greeves. The findings are a reflection of our uniquely American values system of helping others in need, which, in turn, makes us, as givers feel good. This generosity may surprise some but shows why it truly 'Tis better to give than to receive.'"

As a result of the current economic climate, seven in ten adults (71 percent) will spend less money on holiday presents this year, and about half (49 percent) are now more likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present.
More than four in five adults (84 percent) would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else rather than a traditional holiday gift such as clothing or electronics.

More than half of U.S. adults (57 percent) want something for the holidays this year, but only about one in three (36 percent) say they need something.

More than half couldn't remember what they received. More women (60 percent) remember exactly what they got for Christmas last year than men (49 percent).

These results on charitable giving are encouraging to organizations like World Vision. As the worsening U.S. economy puts pressure on millions of Americans this holiday season, World Vision's Gift Catalog offers an economical way to remember those on your holiday shopping list in a meaningful way. "It takes so little money to make a big difference in someone's life through the Gift Catalog," says World Vision's Devin Hermanson, Senior Director Gift Catalog.

"And a gift given from the Gift Catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty while at the same time honoring your friends and loved ones," says Hermanson. "While families in the United States face decisions about where to cut back, families in other countries may be facing much harder decisions, like how to provide food for their children."

For each World Vision gift, the giver can make the purchase in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact. In the following year, the gift itself or intervention reaches the child or family in need.

Last year alone, World Vision's Gift Catalog raised $21 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people around the world.

World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. And while a goat ($75) may be World Vision's number one seller, there are more than 100 gifts (many under $35) to choose from.

To order: Or call toll-free (888) 511-6511. All items are tax-deductible.

Additional media contacts:
Gardi Wilks (Central US) 708- 366-8389
Laura Blank (Eastern US) 617- 945-7548
Myrna Gutierrez (Los Angeles & Southern California) 323-377-2432
John Yeager (Seattle & Western US) 253-815-2356 (work) 425- 765-9856 (cell

The poll was conducted by telephone on behalf of World Vision, an international Christian relief and development organization among 1,001 US adults (ages 18 +) between Oct 23rd and Oct. 26th, 2008. For complete methodology, including weighing variables - please contact John Yeager

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world's poor, regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit

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