American Red Cross launches new holiday giving campaign

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Press release from the American Red Cross:

American Red Cross Launches New Holiday Giving Campaign
Featuring ‘Gifts that Save the Day’ Online Catalog

This holiday season, when economic conditions are tough and people really want their gifts to matter, the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana is kicking off a new holiday campaign that offers a way to give a gift that has real impact.

Gifts that Save the Day is a new holiday giving campaign that inspires people to make a gift that can save the day for those in need. Through the online catalog, people can make a donation that could provide food and shelter for a disaster victim for a day; a military comfort kit with a robe, phone card and other supplies for a wounded warrior; or a month of basic necessities for a family in another country who lost everything in a disaster.

“We know that these are difficult times for many families and businesses in northeast Indiana, but the Red Cross has seen that when Americans are in need, America always responds,” said Kay Ostrum, Executive Director. “The holiday season is traditionally a time of hope and generosity, and this campaign gives us all a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.”

The holiday giving campaign is being launched at a time when a new national survey for the American Red Cross finds that support for charitable giving remains strong even as many people are tightening their belts on gift-buying and other activities. The Red Cross survey found that 29 percent are cutting back on money spent on holiday gifts, 31 percent are planning to spend less for parties this year, 40 percent are cutting back on spending for holiday decorations, and 44 percent are reducing their travel costs. However, only 20 percent planned cuts in their donations to charity, with 17 percent planning to spend more and 62 percent planning to spend the same.

The survey, conducted November 5-8, shows that nearly one in four (23%) had their salary or hours reduced this year, with 14 percent saying they had been laid off from their job and 41 percent losing money in the stock market. However, 67 percent say that because of the economy, it is more important this year to give something to charity.

Although retail sales are projected to remain flat this holiday season, online holiday gift-giving is expected to grow by 4 percent. Following this trend, people buying gifts online this holiday season can make an online donation to the Red Cross in the name of someone special.

Gifts made through the catalog are contributions towards a Red Cross program area, not a donation to a specific project or item. The donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within the program area; remaining money is put to use where it is needed most.

“These have been turbulent economic times for the Red Cross and other non-profits, with more and more people seeking help,” said Kay. “The Red Cross is working very hard to raise money now so the organization can be there tomorrow with help and hope when people need it most—when the next disaster strikes, when a neighbor’s house burns down or when someone needs life-saving blood.”

The telephone survey of 1,001 U.S. adults 18 years and older was conducted November 5-8, 2009 by CARAVAN® Opinion Research Corporation. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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