Program is now in its third year.
by Donna Romine –
The Salvation Army’s 2007 Online Red Kettle program—like the traditional kettles—raises money for those in need at Christmas and throughout the year. To help the Army and those we serve, individuals and organizations nationwide are recruited to host their own “virtual” red kettle during the holiday season through The Salvation Army’s national website. The online Red Kettles use the power of the Internet to complement the traditional bell ringing Christmas campaign that the Army has conducted in front of retail stores since 1891. This year, for the first time ever, users of the social networking website, Facebook.com, will have the opportunity to host kettles from their personal pages.
Now in its third year, The Salvation Army’s virtual program raised more than $482,000 nationally in 2006—a 268 percent increase in online giving from the program’s inaugural year. All these gifts, which are tax deductible, are processed through The Salvation Army’s secure servers, and then directed to the local community of the donor based on each donor’s zip code or other designation. Volunteers can sign up to be virtual bell ringers via the Western Territory’s home page at www.usw.salvationarmy.org.
“The online Red Kettles are a new way that volunteer-minded individuals and organizations can meaningfully contribute to their community,” said Major George Hood, national community relations secretary for The Salvation Army. “While our bells will always be out on the street, our online Red Kettle website allows us to create a complementary Christmas tradition for the next generation of social networkers who are looking for ways to provide critical support for real-world social services.”
As a new innovation for 2007, Facebook users can easily host and post an online Red Kettle to their personal profile and automatically encourage the friends in their network to give. Each time a friend in the host’s network visits the kettle and makes a donation, an automatic notification is posted to friends in the donor’s network as well, indicating the donor’s support of the host and his or her online Red Kettle. This ripple effect continues as more and more Facebook users donate or host their own online Red Kettle.
Some of the features of the Online Red Kettle program include:
Donors can contribute to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign from the comfort of their own home.
E-gift receipts are provided for every online donation and can be used to verify tax deductions.
Individuals are able to customize and host a personal online kettle, set a fundraising goal and automatically email friends and family members asking for their support in filling their kettle with online donations.
The new Facebook component allows individual kettle hosts to easily encourage their network of friends to give to the virtual kettle on their Facebook profile.
Group Red Kettles allow civic-minded organizations and businesses the ability to pool their donations for an enterprise-wide goal. They can also track and view an up-to-date snapshot of giving totals.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign provides funds that allow the Army to help six million people during the Christmas season and 35 million Americans in need year-round; it is one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States.