American Red Cross Launches Gifts that Save the Day Holiday Campaign
WASHINGTON, November 18, 2009 — Many people are cutting back on gift-buying, parties and travel this holiday season, but support for charitable giving remains strong as people believe it is more important this year to give to charities because of the economy, according to a new national survey for the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross survey found that many people are tightening their belts this holiday season, with 29 percent cutting back on money spent on holiday gifts; 31 percent planning to spend less for parties this year; 40 percent cutting back on spending for holiday decorations; and 44 percent 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 findings are all the more remarkable given the fact that the survey, conducted November 5-8, shows 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, because of the economy, 67 percent say it is more important this year to give something to charity.
The Red Cross announced the survey findings as it kicked off its first ever national holiday gift campaign. Branded “Gifts that Save the Day,” the new holiday giving campaign features a special print and online gift catalog as well as national broadcast, print and online advertising focused on year-end giving. The campaign was created by Russ Reid, the nation’s leading communications agency for nonprofits.
“In this season of hope and in these tough economic times, people want their gifts to really matter, and the new Red Cross campaign offers a way for people to give a gift that can save the day for those in need,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross.
Through the online catalog at www.redcross.org/gifts, 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.
In addition, the online catalog provides an opportunity for people to give a charitable gift while doing their online shopping. Although retail sales are projected to remain flat this holiday season, online holiday gift-giving is expected to grow by 4 percent.
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 McGovern. “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.”
A key part of the 2009 Red Cross holiday campaign will be national advertising, including national cable television, in-flight magazines and online advertising urging people to make a donation to the Red Cross.
The television ads, which start November 23, mark the first time since 2003 that the Red Cross has done national television advertising during the holiday giving season. The advertising will support the end-of-year giving campaigns of the Red Cross and of chapters throughout the country.
The Red Cross ads feature photos and images of people being offered comfort and help by the Red Cross after a disaster, when they need life-saving blood or following a local home fire. The ads, which feature a voiceover from actor Jimmy Smits, seek to capture the “Red Cross moment” when people go from despair to hope, and urge people to give the gift that saves the day.
“We know these are difficult times for families and businesses across the country, but the Red Cross has seen that when Americans are in need, America always responds,” said Jeffrey Towers, chief development officer at the Red Cross. “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 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 percent at the 95% confidence level.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.