A fundamental shift in holiday giving?

Seattle, WA, 14 November 2011The struggling economy continues to affect holiday spending and holiday generosity. According to a World Vision study, more than 7 in 10 (71%) Americans report that they’ll spend less on holiday presents this year because of the current economic climate. This number has remained nearly the same three out of the last four years. This trend appears to reflect a fundamental shift in how Americans perceive holiday generosity. This is the third year World Vision has commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct research on holiday charitable giving. This is the second year the U.S. and Canada have been included in the same comprehensive study.

Key findings:

Americans Expect to Spend Less on Holiday Gifts

  • 71% in 2011
  • 69% in 2010
  • 57% in 2009
  • 71% in 2008

But Americans want those dollars to mean more. Because more than half (51%) say they’re now more likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present this year. Again, this number has remained nearly the same three out of the last four years (51% in 2011, 51% in 2010, 38% in 2009 and 49% in 2008). And 4 in 5 adults (80%) say they’d prefer to receive a “meaningful gift” that would help someone else instead of a traditional holiday gift like clothing or electronics. This number is identical to 2010 (80%). About 7 in 10 U.S. adults (71%) – the same proportion as 2010 (71%) – agree that they plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves. In 2010 that number was exactly the same (71%).

Americans More Generous?

The phone survey, conducted October 26-30, 2011 also says that U.S. adults are more likely than Canadian adults to have experience with both giving and receiving charitable gifts: More than 2 in 3 U.S. adults (68%) have given a “charitable gift” that honors a loved one, compared to just over half of Canadian adults (55%).

“It is worth noting that while the proportion who wants to receive a meaningful gift has been steady over the past two years, it is still an increase since the low of 76% who felt this way in 2009,” reported Michele Salomon, Senior Research Director at Harris Interactive. “This suggests that the relevance or meaning of the cause, charity, or gift becomes more important for people as they make giving decisions in a strained economic environment.”


New study:

“This survey shows once again that, during uncertain economic times, Americans continue to prioritize helping those in need”, says Traci Coker, World Vision-US Gift Catalog Senior Director. “Even more so than our neighbors to the north, Americans want to reach out with charitable gifts like those found in the World Vision Gift Catalog this holiday season.”

“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 Coker. 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 months that follow, the gift itself or intervention reaches a child or family in need.

Last year alone, the World Vision U.S. Gift Catalog raised more than $32 million and provided assistance to more than 800,000 people around the world. This year’s projected goal: $34 million. World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. Since then it’s raised over $162 million dollars. 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 in the United States: www.worldvisiongifts.org. or call toll-free 888-511-6511.
World Vision U.S. Gift Catalog on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldvisiongiftcatalog

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United States media:
Contact: John Yeager World Vision U.S. – Media Relations 425-765-9845 [email protected]
Gardi Wilks (Central US) 708-434-5006 (office) 708-205-5020 (mobile) [email protected]
Mindy Mizell (Eastern US) 202-355-3690 [email protected]
Christine Connolly Bell (Western US) 323-208-2444 [email protected]g

Canada media:
Contact: Jane Bargout
World Vision Canada – Media Relations 416-716-9738 [email protected]

About the poll:
This poll was conducted by telephone within the United States and Canada by Harris Interactive on behalf of World Vision, Inc. between October 26 and October 30, 2011 among 1,007 U.S. adults ages 18+ and between October 27 and October 31, 2011 among 1,021 Canadian adults 18+. (for complete methodology contact John Yeager [email protected]).

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

Media Contact:

John Yeager
Twitter: @WorldVisionNews