Giving in the News: 70% Plan to Give in the Holidays

70% of Americans Plan to Give During the Holidays, Survey Finds

Chronicle of Philanthropy

October 27, 2008

By Cassie J. Moore

Despite the bad economy, almost seven out of 10 adults plan to donate the same amount online as they did in the 2007 holiday season, according to a study released today.

The survey, which was conducted in late September, after the financial crisis erupted, found that slightly more than half of the Americans who use the Internet plan to make an online contribution to charity during the holidays.

It was conducted by Convio, an Austin, Tex., company that provides Web-based software to charitie and JupiterResearch, a New York research company, estimated that nearly 176 million Americans are Internet users. The study’s questions focused exclusively on online-giving habits of people who use the Internet.

Eighty-three percent of people who say their financial situation has remained the same in the past year plan to give the same amount or more this holiday season. Forty-six percent of those who said their financial situation had become substantially worse over the past 12 months still plan to donate online in November and December.

Social-Service Groups

Much of online giving during the holidays will flow to social-service organizations: Forty-one percent of those who plan to donate online said they intended to support groups such as food banks and homeless shelters. Slightly more than one third said they planned to give to religious organizations, and about the same proportion of donors plans to give to organizations that fight diseases. Twenty-four percent plan to donate to animal-welfare organizations, and 22 percent said they would give to support disaster and international relief groups.

Households earning less than $35,000 per year were more likely than wealthier households to send online donations to social-service organizations: Nearly half of online givers at the lower income level said they would support those causes, while 38 percent of online donors in households making more than $100,000 annually said the same. The wealthier households that said they would give online were more likely to support health charities: 39 percent of those in the $100,000 and above range said they would donate to such groups, while just over a quarter of the $35,000 group said they would.

Increased Donations

Among the other findings:

  • Sixty-four percent of people with a household income of more than $100,000 plan to donate online. Nine percent of that group said they would increase their giving this holiday season.
  • Forty-six percent of those who are 18 to 24 years old and half of those 25 to 34 plan to donate online, with 13 percent of the younger group planning to donate more this holiday season than last.
  • More than half of people 55 to 64 plan to donate online this holiday, which researchers say proves that online commerce is not just for young people.
  • Twenty-seven percent of online donors said that a charity’s Web site is the most helpful factor in deciding which organization to support.
  • Fifteen percent said that an e-mail message from a family member or friend would make them more likely to donate online to a particular charity, and only 10 percent said that they would turn to a charity watchdog group to decide which organization to support.
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