- Sen. Barrasso: ‘Nothing flies, nothing shoots, nothing works’ in Ukrainian military
- RNC ‘autopsy’ authors: ‘Tremendous progress’ from a year ago
- Gun control groups turn to private sector to push crackdowns
- Study to test ‘chocolate’ pills for heart health
- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay arrested for DWI
- Obama, Abbas to meet Monday morning regarding peace talks
- Guinness quits New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade over gay march prohibition
- RNC goes on offensive with ad buys in 14 targeted states
- Saudi Arabia bans 50 ‘blasphemous’ baby names — like Benjamin
- Jack Daniel’s up in arms at Tenn. push to ‘weaken’ whiskey label
Stay healthy, keep giving
It’s as American as Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie: giving to charities. It’s what we do as Americans. It makes us feel good, particularly during the holidays.
Some even claim it’s crucial for our good health.
“The most important reason to give is that it’s central to personal physical, emotional and mental health,” says Steve McSwain, author of “The Giving Myths: Giving and Then Getting the Life You’ve Always Wanted.” (Proceeds from the book go to www.modestneeds.org, a nonprofit focused on helping poor families in the United States.)
The good news is we continue to give even as our economy continues its downward spiral. A recent survey by Harris Interactive and World Vision (a Christian humanitarian group that aims to help families in poverty worldwide) shows that Americans - while intending to spend less on commercial gifts - want charitable gifts this year.
“Giving is a cultural value, a societal norm for us as Americans,” says Justin Greeves of Harris Interactive, a research and polling company. “The emotion it taps into is: ‘I can give something that will make a difference in someone’s life.’”
Mr. Greeves says he thinks there will be a slight increase in charitable giving this year because when there is greater need there also is greater awareness. (Americans give more than $300 billion to charities every year.)
A recent report by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University echoes the findings, saying that a look at the past four decades shows that American households continue to give even when the economy is suffering. The period studied included good times and bad — for example, Black Monday in 1987, when the Dow lost more than 22 percent in one day.
In the past, however, households have given about 1 percent less during those bad times, according to the report. The drop in giving is most significant among households making $50,000 or less.
World Vision is not seeing a slump, however. Instead, the group has seen an increase in giving this year.
“My jaw is dropping because people are out of work and they’re still giving,” says World Vision spokesman John Yeager. “Our catalog sales are up for the year.”
Giving isn’t limited to giving money. It also can mean giving in-kind donations.
At Goodwill of Greater Washington, for example, monetary donations are down about 30 percent for the year, and projections show them continuing to slide. However, in-store sales are up, so Goodwill can use more items to sell.
“We hope to offset the decrease in monetary donations with an increase in in-store sales,” says Brendan Hurley, vice president for marketing and communications at Goodwill.
Another way to give is by volunteering, and at Greater DC Cares, a nonprofit group that coordinates volunteering and corporate community investing, this is where growth is seen this year.
“I think people — particularly after the election — feel like they can make a difference,” says Madye Henson, president and chief executive office of Greater DC Cares.
About the Author
By David A. Clarke Jr.
Blame Washington's intelligence failure, not lack of police
- CURL: We overhauled U.S. health care to insure 4.2 million people?
- Guinness quits New York's St. Patrick's Day parade over gay march prohibition
- Bill Maher: God a 'psychotic mass murderer' who 'drowns babies'
- California gun store owner refuses to hand over customer list
- Crimea votes in favor of secession; U.S. rejects
- New 'gainful employment' proposal sparks criticism
- Firefighters discover church's Bible in Harlem rubble following gas explosion
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Obama makes play for Obamacare in March Madness-themed ad
- McCaul offers scenario where missing Malaysian jet lands in hostile country to be use as missile
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014