Charities Hope for Last-Minute Donation Surge

In recession, gifts are down, but need is higher than ever
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2009 1:05 PM CST
Charities Hope for Last-Minute Donation Surge
A bell ringer for the Salvation Army solicits donations.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Charities and nonprofits are hoping for a whirlwind of last-minute donations to make up for a dismal year that saw donations fall while the need for services rose. “This is basically the most critical giving season since the Great Depression,” a representative for the Center for Nonprofit Advancement tells the Washington Post. “This will be the litmus test, to see whether the nonprofit sector is coming out of this, remaining stable or getting worse.”

Funding cuts have come from every corner this year, so charities are relying on individual donations, the overwhelming majority of which come during the holiday season. And early indications are that just as consumer spending has been healthy this Christmas, so have charitable gifts. “Our donations are less than last year,” says one Catholic Charities rep. “But it’s significantly more than it was just 15 days ago.”
(More charity stories.)

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