Cyber Monday Deals Pose Stiff Competition for Charities Hoping to Cash in on Spending Spree

Will Consumers Choose Walmart, Amazon or 'Meaningful' Contributions?

Religious and faith-based charities are competing with retail giants like Walmart and Amazon for consumer dollars this Cyber Monday, the day when consumers turn to the Internet for bargains not offered in stores on Black Friday.

This Cyber Monday is slated to see record-setting consumer spending, following record sales on Black Friday.

An estimated 226 million U.S. shoppers spent $52 billion on what is typically the busiest shopping day of the year. Cyber Monday is expected to generate more than $1 billion in online sales this year, according to ComScore, an Internet marketing research firm.

ComScore estimates consumers will spend $1.2 billion on Cyber Monday this year, which is up from $1 billion in 2010.

Faith-based organizations are hoping to cash in on the massive amount of spending expected to take place Monday.

World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization, raised $32 million in its 2010 holiday drive. More than half was raised online.

The charity sells unique items from its "Gift Catalogue," which include mosquito nets and micro loans for families living in poverty across the globe.

"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," said World Vision Gift Catalog Director Traci Coker in a press release.

The charity, which helped more than 800,000 people around the world in 2010, is one of many charitable organizations making a Cyber Monday push.

The Salvation Army and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program are popular charities with holiday drives.

Medical research organizations (like the American Cancer Society), military veterans organizations (like Homes For Our Troops) and volunteer organizations (like One Brick) all have online donation pages.

Charity organizers say the melding of charitable giving and Cyber Monday is natural.

"We know times are tough but we also know shoppers are looking for gifts that are impactful. As long as you're going to be doing some shopping online, why not include a meaningful gift?" Coker said.

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