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Public Still Plans to Give to Charities During the Holidays Despite Increased Donations in 2012 to Political Causes and Hurricane Sandy

Annual Survey by Red Cross Finds Encouraging News for all Charities

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most Americans say that their giving to political causes in 2012 and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts will not reduce their year-end gifts to charity, according to a poll by the American Red Cross.

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A telephone survey of 1,010 adults conducted earlier this month found that 78 percent of those who have already given to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts say it will not impact their year-end charitable giving, while 90 percent of those who gave to political causes say it will not reduce their giving to non-profits this holiday season.

"It's encouraging that people are willing to support the work of charitable organizations even in a year when there has been increased giving to political causes and Hurricane Sandy," said Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. "Nonprofits like the Red Cross are there for people in need every day and everywhere and rely on year-end fundraising to fulfill their mission."

Other key findings include:

  • The most popular ways people give are by putting money aside in a canister or giving to someone who is asking for a donation in a public place (both 56 percent) and mailing a check (52 percent). One in five (21 percent) say they have used a charity's website to donate over the past 12 months.
  • Friends are influential in American's charitable gift decisions, as half of all donors (51 percent) say they would donate if a friend talked to them personally about a charity.
  • Of social media users polled, 68 percent say they would take time to learn more about a charity if they see a friend posting about it; about half (51 percent) say they would have more respect for a friend that posts about a charitable donation and nearly four in ten (39 percent) said they would donate themselves.

While a majority of those polled said prior giving to political causes and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts will not impact their year-end financial donations, fewer Americans plan to give to charity this year than last year. The survey found that 52 percent of Americans are planning to donate to charity this season, down from 57 percent the last two years.  Giving by those who do plan to donate to a nonprofit may be less: while 49 percent of those planning to give will give more than $50; nearly half (46 percent) say they will give less than $50. Last year, 39 percent of Americans who planned to give said they would give less than $50

"There are many ways people can help their communities this holiday season," McGovern said. "If they are unable to give financially, they can donate blood, support a service member by sending a holiday card, or volunteer."

Friends Remain a Trusted Source of Information

When people are considering making a charitable donation, hearing personally from friends and family is an important factor in their decision. Nearly six in ten (59 percent) of those polled said they would sponsor a friend in a walk, run or bike ride for charity if asked, while half said they would donate if asked directly.

More than a third (36 percent) said they would attend a fundraising event, while 32 percent would sponsor a friend taking an action to emphasize a charity's mission, like living below the poverty line for a week.

Social Media's Influence on Giving

Most donors continue to give through ways other than social media, but nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) say they were influenced by an email or something they saw on social media. Of those social media users polled, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) said they would visit a charity's website or Facebook page if they saw a friend post about it, while 58 percent said they would ask their friend to tell them more about the donation.

Half said they would have more respect for someone who posted about donating online, while nearly four in 10 (39 percent) said they would donate money themselves.

Survey details: Telephone survey of  1,010 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on November 8-11, 2012 conducted in ORC International's CARAVAN®  survey  using a landline-cell dual-frame sampling design. Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

About Red Cross Holiday Partners
During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for the support of our corporate partners that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include:  University of Phoenix, Circle K West Coast Division, and the Community Safety Foundation, funded by AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange.  Thanks to the generosity of these and other sponsors, the Red Cross is able to carry out its mission of helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies everyday here and around the world. Each holiday season the Red Cross gives everyone the chance to support our work by giving blood, signing a card for military heroes or buying a gift through our holiday catalog. To support the Red Cross this Holiday Season, visit

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

SOURCE American Red Cross

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