With the Holiday Giving season ramping and the recession having a negative impact on donations, charities are expanding their eCommerce offerings to better meet consumer’s needs. We are finalizing research into the holiday giving plans of consumers, but preliminary data show that 61% of online consumers plan to give online this year, up from 51% last year – that’s more than 106 million Americans giving online in the last 4 weeks of the year.
Nearly 21% have not yet decided how much to give and to what charity. According to the National Retail Federation U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $682.74 on holiday-related shopping, a 3.2 percent drop from 2008. According to research in by the Chronicle of Philanthropy the top 400 charities expect 2009 giving to be down by as much as 9%. While there is no doubt that this is not good news, the data does shed light on opportunity.
Of that 106+ million people looking to give, there are about well over 20 million Americans who might be torn between buying a gift for a loved one or friend and giving to charity. Thus, we have talked to a number of clients who are giving constituents the best of both worlds this holiday season – giving the gift of charity and giving a gift from charity.
Our founder and CSO, Vinay Bhagat was quoted last week in The New York Times about the trend, and today our client American Red Cross was also written up in the Times about their first “Gifts that Save the Day” catalogue. The Yellowstone Parks Foundation is offering their first online gift this year, and online stalwarts like World Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, Oxfam America, Humane Society of the United States, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburg, UNICEF, Animal Humane Society, Project Bread and dozens of others are making it easy to give gifts to the people that mean the most to you and give to charity.
You can give everything from a traditional ornament to lions and tiger and bears (Oh my) (really you can adopt a lion, tiger and/or bear), you can give bees and goats or even a pile of manure for that special someone…a little more traditional you can give museum membership or buy that Andy Warhol replica that would look great in the hallway…the really neat thing about shopping online from charity is it is easy to find the perfect gift for anyone – even the person that has it all. I’m really looking forward to seeing my teenage daughter when she learns she’s getting manure – She’ll be happy when she learns it supports Oxfam. Most importantly the gift you give to the person you love support causes that feed, protect and care for children, the poor and the homeless, protect wildlife and the environment, educate and enrich our communities and make a difference in the lives of millions of people – that is the true spirit of the season.
I KNOW that I have left off some examples of how our clients are using eCommerce and other Convio products to bring gift giving and giving together this year, so I ask you to share your opportunity here – let’s create a clearing house for online gifts that make a difference this holiday season.
Let’s help make the year-end giving season come alive for your friends, family and the nonprofits that make a difference.