In a sign that consumers are still willing to put aside debt worries and bad credit for causes that matter to them, many charities reported an uptick in giving throughout 2009.
According to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, incoming contributions for 2009 stood at $1.1 billion, $0.6 billion higher than their totals from one year earlier.
One aspect of the gift fund that was enhanced in order to appeal to cash-strapped consumers was an increase in accessibility during the year. The minimum grant figure was lowered from $100 to $50 for the year. Additionally, 64 percent of donations came during the year’s fourth quarter, when donors’ finances may have been a bit clearer.
"We are optimistic as we begin the new year," Libbey said. "Throughout 2009, we saw giving gain momentum and peak during December, one of our strongest giving seasons yet. With the economy showing signs of improvement and the markets recovering, we hope to help more donors in the coming year fulfill their giving plans."
Charitable giving seemed to prosper in 2009 despite economic downturn. According to USA Today, Catholic Charities USA had expected to fall well short of its $7.1 million goal for 2009.
However, a 21 percent increase in donations in December compared to one year earlier currently has the charity holding $6.6 million donations for the year with more gifts still left to be processed.