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American Red Cross Survey Finds 62 Percent of Americans Plan to Donate More Than $25 to Charity This Holiday Season in Spite of Economic Downturn

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) In spite of the economic downturn, Americans are entering this holiday season willing to support charities in two ways, with 62 percent planning to dig deep into their own wallets to support charities and nearly 40 percent talking with others about donating to charity instead of buying them a gift, according to a new survey for the American Red Cross.

The survey shows that nearly 90 percent of Americans planned to donate to charity this holiday season. Half of those making donations plan to donate at least $50 to charity this holiday season, with 25 percent intending to give more than $100.

Importantly, the survey shows that in addition to making their own donations, 39 percent of people are willing to forego another holiday gift and have that money given to charities instead. Moreover, 80 percent said that if asked, they would be happy to make a donation to charity instead of buying a gift for someone.

And with many people shopping online this holiday season, the Red Cross is making it easier to give charitable gifts through an online "Gifts that Save the Day" catalog that enables people to make a tax-deductable charitable gift this holiday season. The catalog allows people to make a donation that could provide food and shelter for a disaster victim for a day; a military comfort kit with a robe, phone card and other supplies for a wounded warrior; or a month of basic necessities for a family in another country who lost everything in a disaster.

"In this season of hope, the Red Cross is asking people to give a gift that can really save the day for someone in need," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. "Shoppers doing their online gift-buying on Cyber Monday or at other times this holiday season can make a donation to the Red Cross in the name of someone special."

Gifts made through the catalog are contributions towards a Red Cross program area, not a donation to a specific project or item. The donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within the program area; remaining money is put to use where it is needed most.

Women Most Often Involved in Family Decisions on Charitable Donations

Women have a great deal of influence over charitable giving decisions in the home. Ninety percent of the women surveyed indicated that they are involved in decisions about which charities to support, compared to 81 percent of men. More than one in five (22 percent) said that they involved children in determining charitable donations.

Popular charities for holiday giving this year include those that help the poor (83 percent); help service members (58 percent); help people with a specific disease (55 percent); and that assist disaster victims (51 percent).

In addition, people are supporting charities during the holiday season with more than money, donating clothing, time and even blood. The survey found that 84 percent planned to donate used clothing or household items; 75 percent would contribute food to a food bank; 39 percent planned to volunteer for a charity; and 22 percent said they would donate blood during the holiday season.