Bed & Bread Club celebrates 25 years


By Tammy Nigus

The Bed & Bread Club has raised more than $100 million for The Salvation Army over its 25 years in operation. Barbara Antrim—co-founder of Resource Development Group (predecessor of Summit Marketing)—created the program as a way to provide stable and predictable income for new Salvation Army clients.

The premise behind the Bed & Bread Club is simple. Ask each member to give at least $10 per month, or an annual, one-time gift of at least $120.

“The simple idea of a person giving a certain amount of money each month, multiplied by hundreds or even thousands of people was ambitious,” Antrim said. “But I knew if I could encourage a large enough group of individual donors to write a check for $10 each month, it would significantly increase overall income. And it did! I couldn’t be more pleased with its success.”

The first Bed & Bread Club began in the Eastern Michigan Corps. Over the past 25 years, they’ve expanded the outreach of the Bed & Bread Club in many ways. One of the most successful methods was through a radiothon which has raised as much as $2.3 million in a single day, in addition to their monthly club donations.

Today, the Bed & Bread Club successfully operates in more than 106 Salvation Army corps throughout the U.S. and is made up of 19,521 club members. Summit Marketing keeps those members emotionally engaged through communications that share how their monthly gifts are making a difference. The result is an inspired group of donors who tend to give more than other donors.

“The Bed & Bread Club is a program that creates opportunities for donor loyalty to develop and grow,” said Jo Ann Remender, planned giving director at The Salvation Army Indiana Division. “These are people who demonstrate a very personal devotion to The Salvation Army’s mission, year after year. Over time, it [our monthly giving club] not only builds lifetime value of our donors, but also the value of philanthropy in their lives.”

The fulfillment rate for Bed & Bread Club donors is extraordinarily high—approaching 100 percent in some areas. The members know their donations provide more than food and shelter for people in need. They provide hope.

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