Wintertime brings with it special requests for donations of time, money, and materials to organizations in your community. According to a recent survey, 65% of Americans plan to donate more money than usual to charity this year in response to the series of natural disasters (e.g. Hurricane Katrina) that have hit the United States. In comparison, only 8% planned to volunteer their time over the holiday season to an organization like a food shelter or soup kitchen. It is not that unusual to find rates of volunteerism drop around the holidays given that the ability of much of the country to do outdoors events is limited due to inclement weather, people traveling quite a bit to spend time with family, time devoted to actual family activities (including preparation for visits and holiday shopping), and the fact that a large portion of the volunteer labor pool - student volunteers – are either studying for exams or heading home for the holidays.
Many Americans compensate for their lack of time by opening their wallets that much more to area organizations. The Denver Foundation recently discovered in a survey of charitable giving in Denver, CO, though, that not everyone gives equally. While most people think of the Raymond Kroc family or John Rockefeller when they think of philanthropy, it turns out that people with lower salaries often give a greater percentage of their paycheck to charity than those earning six figures or more. The survey mentioned above adds that of the 35% of the Americans that won’t be giving to charity this year, slightly over 80% cite personal financial difficulties or expectations of higher fuel costs this winter.
The point from these statistics was well put by the editorial staff at the Denver Post, "do your part; some big foundation isn't necessarily going to make up the difference if you don't give." We hope everyone has a chance this holiday season to give something – time or money – back to their community and to others.