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Americans Say Giving to Charity Is a Holiday Priority

Nearly seven out of 10 Americans say it’s important to give to charity this holiday season, a 10-percentage point jump from a similar poll conducted last year by the American Red Cross. But only 57 percent actually plan to give between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the same percentage as in 2010.

As donors get ready to face the fourth holiday season of a sluggish economy, 72 percent of people who plan to give say they will donate the same as or more than last year, which is the same percentage as in the 2010 poll. A majority of those who do give plan to donate between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Perhaps the best news for charities is that charitable donations are the last thing many people plan to cut, even as they scrimp on other holiday expenses. Forty-five percent of those polled plan to curb travel expenses and spend less on holiday decorations, 40 percent say they won’t spend as much on parties, and 35 percent plan to spend less on gifts for friends and family. But only 26 percent say they plan to reduce their charitable donations.

The American Red Cross conducted the telephone survey of 1,020 adults in late September. Here are the key results.

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