All is Not So “Merry and Bright” for Charities this Holiday Season
…but here comes Santa Claus Gen Y!
In a weak economy, Americans tend to cut back on everything, and unfortunately that includes donating to the less fortunate. This holiday season, our diffusion index for charitable contributions (those who will spend less than last year subtracted from those who will spend more) is negative, at -15%! (Check out the report here) 27.9% of consumers are planning to spend less on charities this year vs. 12.9% who plan to spend more. The majority (59.2%) plans to spend the same as last year (although that could mean zero dollars for some).
Despite the Grinchy economy, there is one group of consumers getting into the giving spirit this year…and quite unexpectedly, it’s Generation Y! Yep, those fresh-out-of-college and struggling to find work 20-somethings plan to spend MORE overall on charitable contributions this holiday season! 23.9% admit they will spend more, 61.2% plan to spend the same, while only 14.8% say they plan to spend less. That gives us an overall diffusion index in the black at 9.1%! Boomers, on the other hand, are cutting back the most – see for yourself!
Perhaps this shouldn’t be such a surprise—some of those in Generation Y live with their family, and most don’t have children yet. Many of them DO have jobs in innovative companies snatching up tech-savvy employees. Whatever their situation, members of Gen Y appear to have a bit of spare change. The top reason these youngsters gave for giving more this year was “Even though times are tough, there are others that need help more than I do,” with over half (55.4%) saying so. Another 40% simply have more to give.
These reasons ring true in my life as well. I am happily employed and do not have children (just a hamster, but he has only a tiny mouth to feed). There aren’t many children in my extended family either, and due to a variety of reasons (most of which involve debt), my extended family just isn’t giving gifts this year to anyone over the age of five. If you check out the report, you will see 15.3% of my Gen Yers are also cutting back on gifts for family and friends.
My immediate family has decided to give practical gifts. Top on my list is a crock pot and a gift card to my local grocery store! So, after saving up for the year and not having anyone to buy for, my family has picked out a few of our favorite charities to donate to. We are trying to get involved in toy drives and collections for local food pantries as well. It just feels like the right thing to do, especially at this time of year. It’s hard to imagine that there are people in my neighborhood that only want shampoo or a blanket for Christmas while so many others around the country are thinking about a new tablet or smartphone.
I realize that I have been blessed in my life, and I want to give back what I can to those who really need it. I may not be able to offer gold or even a pa rum pum pum pum on a drum (I am NOT musically gifted) but I can give someone the gift of warmth or a hot meal or even a roof!
Here at BIG, we want to know what you are doing this holiday season. Let us know if you are cutting back on donations in this rough economy or if you are able to help out others in their time of need. What are some of your favorite charities? Do you get involved in your community or church around the holidays? Are you taking care of yourself and your family first before helping others? We like to hear from you!