2chicks-boy-world-vision.jpgThe faltering U.S. economy is again forcing many U.S. adults to cut back on holiday gift spending this year, but one leading U.S. charity reports 2009 gift giving from their holiday catalog is up dramatically compared to last year. World Vision, an international relief and development organization, says 2009 revenue from its gift catalog is running 28% ahead of 2008. Since October 1st, the charity has raised more than $4.7 million toward its goal of $25 million this holiday season.

These numbers seem to confirm findings from a new study on charitable giving conducted on World Vision’s behalf by Harris Interactive. According to the study, three out of four U.S. adults (76%) would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional holiday gift like clothing or electronics. And an overwhelming majority (95%) agrees it is especially important to help children during the holiday season. Most Americans also say, once the economy improves, they’ll increase their donations to charities.

But these new revenue numbers indicate charities like World Vision may not have to wait until the recession is over.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about these new numbers”, says Devin Hermanson, World Vision’s Gift Catalog Senior Director. “And this research shows that people are still very anxious about the economy but clearly concerned about children,” says Devin Hermanson. “They want to help. The Gift Catalog is a great solution since it allows people to have a life-changing impact for very little money.” (For instance, in these photos, families received 2 chickens or 5 ducks for donations of $25-$30 at World Vision)

“A gift given from the Gift Catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty, while at the same time honoring your friends and loved ones,” says Hermanson. For each World Vision gift, the giver can make the purchase in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact.

girl-w-duck-world-vision.jpg“And this year, we’ll be able to truly show how powerful that impact can be through our Spirit of Christmas Tour. We’re traveling literally around the world to videotape children and their families who have benefited from gifts from the Gift Catalog such as goats, water, and malaria prevention.” The tour left New York November 22nd and will return mid-December. The tour is being followed by more than 14,000 Facebook friends.

Last year alone, World Vision’s Gift Catalog, launched in 1996, raised $25 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people around the world.

While a goat ($75) may be World Vision’s number one seller, there are more than 100 gifts (many under $35) to choose from.

To order: www.worldvisiongifts.org. Or call toll-free (888) 511-6511. All items are tax-deductible.

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