Giving in the Nick of Time

Is it holiday spirit or seeking better numbers on the tax return? Probably some of both. No matter the reason, the end of the year — particularly December 31 — is, by far, the leading day for online charitable donations.

One software company that operates online giving systems offered the following numbers for 2008: more than 13 times as many gifts on Dec. 31 than the daily average and 22.5 times more in money raised. A leading charity added that online is not the only route, with extra direct mail and e-mails the final week of the year also generating greatly improved responses.

The tax deduction certainly is a factor, but one fund-raising consultant was quoted as saying: "The broader base of givers doesn’t itemize, and so they don’t have tax considerations in mind. I think giving has just become part of what you do during this season."

Your thoughts: Big hearts or money talks?