Valerie Jones, left, is helped by volunteer Jaraun Wright on Nov. 9 as she picks out donated clothing at Clinton Hill Community Resource Center in Newark, one of the cities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.(Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)
Despite all the money recently pledged to support the victims of
Superstorm Sandy, charities nationwide are not anticipating a
significant drop-off in holiday donations.
Contributions made in
times of disasters do not have a major impact on holiday giving,
according to the Center on Philanthropy at the University of Indiana and
the leaders of several charities.
In an American Red Cross poll
conducted Nov. 8-11, three out of four people who donated to Sandy
relief efforts said that those gifts would not reduce their year-end
donations to charity, according to Peggy Dyer, chief marketing officer
with the American Red Cross.
"I think that during this time of
year, people have generous hearts and there is a time period of giving,"
Dyer said. "Whether that's giving back to the local community, giving
back to others or giving to family and friends, people are often
inclined to continue to give."
Most donations at times of natural
disasters are typically modest and combined with larger donations from
celebrities or foundations, according to the Center on Philanthropy.
Those donations often die down after five or six weeks, according to
Patrick Rooney, professor of economics and philanthropic studies at the
University of Indiana.
"We've done a lot of research about
disaster-relief giving," Rooney said. "We don't know if there's a
consistent story about what impact that has on holiday giving."
average, charities receive 41% of their annual contributions between
Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to a 2011 study by Charity
Navigator's Holiday Giving Guide.
The Salvation Army also does not
expect to be affected by Sandy-relief donations, according to Maj.
George Hood, national community relations secretary. "Whenever there's a
natural disaster leading into the holiday season, there's a spike in
support," Hood said. "People want to give during the holiday season."
The struggle for the Salvation Army is mainly the transition from a disaster recovery period into the holiday season.
about "how can we sustain fundraising where we can meet both needs?"
said Hood, who added that 2011 was a record-setting year for the
Salvation Army. The organization's holiday campaign grew by 25%, raising
"We expect an increase especially because the
needs in the Northeast are far beyond anything that you could plan for,"
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America are shifting
their focus this holiday season on clubs in New Jersey that were
damaged by Sandy and need a lot of monetary support and volunteers in
order to re-open.
"We are working with our volunteer leaders
nationally and locally to assess the needs of the Sandy-affected club
members," said Julie Teer, senior vice president of resource
development. "As soon as that work is complete, we'll offer our partners
some exciting opportunities to help the kids most severely impacted by