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Despite Economy, Charitable Donors, Volunteers Keep Giving

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Most Americans gave financial support to a charity in past year

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite the significant downturn in economic conditions in recent years, the percentage of U.S. adults opening their wallets to charitable organizations has hardly diminished. More than four in five Americans continue to say they donated money to a charitable cause or organization in the past 12 months -- now 84%, compared with 87% in December 2005.

The poll doesn't ask whether contribution amounts shrunk, so it could be that donations are down despite the percentage of donors remaining relatively constant. And a lot of contributions are church donations, which tend to hold steady, consistently hovering around 60 percent or a bit more. Actually, if 2006 is used as the baseline, the share of non-religious donors actually increased a bit in the past two years.

Overall, though, the story is that people are still giving something, despite the downturn -- which, of course, is precisely when people who are struggling need it most.

That said, in the spirit of holiday cheer: Good for you, good for us, good for America. And since today is the last day I'll be blogging before the holidays, let me wish Salon readers a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

― Thomas Schaller

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/200...litics/war_room

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