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New Survey: Americans Plan to Spend Less on Holidays But Remain Generous Despite Recession
New World Vision Study Says We Plan to Give More to Charity When the Economy Improves
Americans Say It's Especially Important to Address the Needs of Children During the Holidays
Contact: John Yeager, World Vision, 253-815-2356, 425-765-9845, jyeager@worldvision.org
SEATTLE, Nov. 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- The faltering U.S. economy will again force many U.S. adults to cut back on holiday gift spending this year but according to a new study, three out of four Americans (76%) would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional holiday gift like clothing or electronics. And according to the new study commissioned by World Vision, an international relief and development organization, an overwhelming majority (95%), say the nation's focus over the holidays ought to be on helping children. Most Americans also say once the economy improves, they'll increase their donations to charities. According to the poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, almost three out of four (74%) say they'll increase their charitable giving once the economy improves.
More than nine out of ten (95 percent) agree that it is especially important to help children during the holiday season.
More than three out of four U.S. adults (76 percent) would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional holiday gift like clothing or electronics.
As a result of the current economic climate, almost six out of ten adults (57 percent) will spend less money on holiday presents this year. In 2008, seven out of ten (71 percent) said they would spend less on holiday gifts.
Almost three out of four (74 percent) plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves.
"The declines we see from 2008 reflect the realities of the challenging non-profit climate, with less charitable giving at a time when the need has increased for so many," says Justin Greeves, Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Public Affairs & Policy Research at Harris Interactive. "However, even in these difficult times, an overwhelming majority of Americans still want to help others in need and would rather receive a gift that would help another instead of receiving a traditional gift for themselves. That finding reveals our charitable culture at work. The declines we see in this survey mirror the climate overall. In June 2009, Giving USA reported a 5.7% drop in giving overall in 2008, the largest drop in five decades," says Greeves. "I'm surprised it's not a lot lower than that."
This is the second year World Vision has commissioned Harris Interactive to report on how charitable giving would be affected by the recession. Last year, World Vision also reported that U.S. adults planned to cut back on holiday gift spending. That study also concluded that many U.S. adults (49%) would be more likely to give a "charitable gift" as a holiday present. Both studies are available to media.
"This research shows that people are still very anxious about the economy but clearly concerned about children", says Devin Hermanson, World Vision's Gift Catalog Senior Director. "They want to help, but feel they should wait until the economy turns around. The Gift Catalog is a great solution since it allows them to have a life-changing impact for very little money.
And this year, we'll be able to truly show how powerful that impact can be through our Spirit of Christmas Tour. We'll be traveling literally around the world to videotape children and their families who have benefited from gifts from the Gift Catalog such as goats, water, and malaria prevention." The tour leaves New York November 22nd, returning in five weeks.
"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 Hermanson. 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 following year, the gift itself or intervention reaches the child or family in need.
Last year alone, World Vision's Gift Catalog raised $25 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people around the world.
World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. 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: www.worldvisiongifts.org. Or call toll-free (888) 511-6511. All items are tax-deductible.     
Devin Hermanson - World Vision (holiday gift giving expert) and Justin Greeves - Harris Interactive are available for interviews. Contact John Yeager World Vision Media Relations 425-765-9845 (cell)
Additional media contacts:
Gardi Wilks (Central US) gardi@wilkspr.com 708-434-5006
Laura Blank (Eastern US) lblank@worldvision.org 617-945-7548
Myrna Gutierrez (Los Angeles & Southern California) mgutierr@worldvision.org 323-377-2432
John Yeager (Seattle & Western US) jyeager@worldvision.org 253-815-2356 (office) 425-765-9856 (cell) 
The poll was conducted by telephone on behalf of World Vision, an international Christian relief and development organization, among 1,001 U.S. adults (ages 18 +) Oct 29th - Nov 1st, 2009. For complete methodology, including weighing variables – please contact John Yeager
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world's poor, regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.