Charities Still Supported Through the Holidays Despite Recession

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By Whitney Green
Lemke Newsroom

The recession and an increase in holiday spending are not factors in people’s decision to
support charities – especially during the holidays, according to interviews.

Organizations have created social media initiatives to encourage younger generations to
donate to charity.

Charitable giving increased by $6 billion in 2011, almost 4 percent from 2010, according
to the 2012 report by the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy.

Senior Afsaneh Nimroozi participated in #GivingTuesday by donating to The One Missions.
“I think [#GivingTuesday] is a good idea because it gives non-profits an opportunity to get their name out there,” UA senior Afsaneh Nimroozi said. (Photo by Whitney Green, LEMKE NEWSROOM)

Many non-profit organizations receive the bulk of their donations during the holidays,
LifeSource director Jimmy Conduff said.

LifeSource, for example, receives a surplus of donated canned goods between
Thanksgiving and Christmas, Conduff said.

The organization gets enough, in fact, to last
until next year in the fall when donations increase again.

“In January, when the new year rolls around, people don’t donate as much,” Conduff
said.

A recent survey showed that 57 percent of people donate to charity in some way over
the holiday season, according to Charity Navigator, a company that “serves as a guide to
intelligent giving” at charitynavigator.org.

Of those polled, 46 percent said they give money directly to an organization, 64 percent
donate to a third party — a bell ringer or store that collects donations for a charity
at checkout, 24 percent buy gifts for people through a mitten tree or adopt-a-family
program, 63 percent donate items such as home goods or nonperishable food, and 22
percent donate time by volunteering.

Many organizations have marketed to younger generations that often donate time instead
of money by getting people involved in charitable giving through social media.

The Tuesday following a weekend of post-Thanksgiving sales, was named
#GivingTuesday to encourage people to donate to charity with as much excitement as
Black Friday shopping.

“Folks 65 and older write a check and that’s the extent of their involvement, but this new
generation likes to get emotionally invested in a cause, so they just volunteer,” Salvation
Army Maj. Tim Willaford said.

This was the first year for the nationwide initiative launched by the 92nd Street Y in New
York and the United Nations Foundation, according to givingtuesday.org.

“Everyone knows about #BlackFriday & #CyberMonday. Now help me spread the
word about #GivingTuesday,” Bill Gates posted on Twitter Monday night before the
#GivingTuesday launch. By Tuesday afternoon, he had been retweeted more than 7,000
times, according to Twitter.

As the hash tag implied, social media played an important role in the #GivingTuesday
initiative to get young people more involved in charitable giving.

“I think it’s a good idea because it gives non-profits an opportunity to get their name out
there,” UA senior Afsaneh Nimroozi said.

Many UA students and staff agreed that donating to charity is an important part of the
holidays.

“It’s something that’s needed because ultimately it reminds us of the reason for the
holiday season — it’s about giving, whether it’s to your family or a local charity,” Rudy
Trejo, Assistant Director for ASG said Tuesday.

More than 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the Black Friday
weekend, up from 226 million last year, according to National Retail Federation
statistics. The average holiday shopper spent $423, up from $391 last year, with national
spending estimated at $59.1 billion.

“People have plenty of money apparently,” said Angela Oxford, director of the Center for
Community Engagements. “They are spending loads of money buying so much stuff, but
this generation needs to learn how to give. I think donating to charities is a good thing.”

Despite an increase in holiday spending this year, people still plan to donate to charity.

“There’s a possibility for your wallet to be tapped out after this holiday season concludes,
but giving to charity is certainly needed,” Trejo said. “I see the value in it and will
certainly donate appropriately.”

Trejo planned to donate to the Disabled Veterans National Foundation and the Cancer
Research Institute, he said.

“People make charitable decisions on a personal basis, and I don’t know how much
they’re influenced by any particular motive,” said Bruce Pontious, associate vice
chancellor for student development.