New kettle record set in 2008

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$130 million raised during 2008 national fundraising campaign despite current economic recession.

by Salvation Army national news release –

Donations to The Salvation Army’s red kettles set a new national record of $130 million in 2008—$118 million above that set in 2007. The $130 million represents a 10 percent growth in donations year-over-year—the largest one-year jump since 1997.

The Eastern territory saw a 19 percent increase, while the Southern territory witnessed an increase of 12 percent. The Western and Central territories experienced increases between 5 and 7 percent. The national growth—in spite of the ongoing economic downturn—is attributed to the generosity of the American people, corporate partnerships and the application of a tech-based approach to fundraising.

“We know that Americans always give more in time of need, so we were confident that they would again respond to the call with an outstanding show of generosity. We thank all the donors, volunteers and corporate partners for their contributions and stand resolute in our mission to serve those who need it most,” said Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, national commander of The Salvation Army. “The Red Kettle campaign is stronger than ever as it must be during these challenging times.”

Donations to red kettles at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores accounted for more than $34 million or 26 percent of the total raised. Following a $1.25 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations hosted bell ringers and red kettles on November 8 for a pre-campaign “special day of giving.”

“In these tough economic times, we have set out to help address unmet, immediate needs in the communities that we serve. Because of this commitment, our partnership with The Salvation Army has become more important than ever,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “We are committed to making charitable contributions that have an impact, and are proud that our customers are willing to donate to the Red Kettle Campaign and help their neighbors make ends meet.”

New tech-savvy ways to give were offered. The Army tested cashless red kettles in Denver, Colo. and Dallas, Texas that enabled donations via credit or debit card. A text messaging service was piloted that allowed cell phone users to contribute via their phone bills. Internet giving rose 28 percent this year for a total of $10 million during Christmas.

“This year we reached a new generation of donors we’ve never been able to reach before through the use of high-tech tools like cashless kettles, the Online Red Kettle, and the iPhone,” said Commissioner Gaither. “We also started using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which allow friends and family of our supporters to donate more easily than years past via the internet.”

The Salvation Army worked with several corporate partners who hosted kettles at stores, ran Red Kettle events, made direct donations, and/or engaged in other promotional activities, including:

· The Kroger Company hosted store kettles, raising $10.6 million, or 8 percent of the campaign total.
· Melodeo, a provider of digital media, developed The Salvation Army Holiday Music application for the iPhone, selling for $2.99, with $1 going to the Army.
· The National Hockey League (NHL) hosted Online Red Kettles on team websites.
· Shell Oil raised $100,000 through the “Change is Good, Giving is Better” promotion.
· Target made two separate $1 million donations to the campaign and sold Salvation Army Christmas items—including ornaments and CD’s—in stores with a percentage of the proceeds going to the Army.

The 2008 Red Kettle Campaign was kicked off with the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game and a halftime show featuring the Jonas Brothers band. The Jonas Brothers also hosted their own Online Red Kettle and took part in various promotional activities. Nearly $1.2 billion has been raised in the 12 years the Army has worked alongside the Dallas Cowboys.

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