NHQ awards first-ever Echelon grants to budding chapters
New and existing chapters will use the funds to build out their membership bases.
By Jared McKiernan –
As The Salvation Army’s Echelon movement draws closer to its goal of 50 chapters by the end of 2020, National Headquarters (NHQ) is working to make sure every chapter gets off on the right foot.
NHQ recently doled out $79,000 in grants to 23 active and developing Echelon chapters across the four U.S. territories. The funding will be largely put toward recruitment efforts and marketing materials to help spread the word on what it means to be an Echelon member.
Echelon bills itself as “the emerging professionals arm of The Salvation Army,” giving young adults an opportunity to amplify the work of The Salvation Army in a local setting, through volunteering and fundraising activities.
The Salvation Army currently has 24 active Echelon chapters, 16 developing chapters, and another 20 cities who’ve expressed an interest in starting one. While there’s still a lot of work to do between now and 50 chapters, National Echelon Manager Katie Seifu said she’s encouraged by the progress over the last year.
“This year, we’ve really been focused on stabilizing and getting supports in place for existing chapters,” she said.
A big part of that has been migrating each of the chapters onto the new Echelon website. The centralized platform features a number of membership management features, which allow chapters to better keep tabs on their member databases, collect dues, sell event tickets and send out email and text blasts.
“We’re hoping those things will kind of ease the management of chapters and really make it more effective to communicate, so we’re really excited about that,” Seifu said.
They’ve also rolled out some resources for using LinkedIn as an Echelon recruitment tool. And at National Advisory Organizations Conference (NAOC) 2020, “Better Together,” in Chicago, Echelon will have a number of opportunities to garner support from within The Salvation Army—a critical part of scaling up the movement. As such, one of the main sessions will focus on multi-generational leadership within The Salvation Army.
“We’re hoping to have a pretty big Echelon presence at that conference and share what we do more broadly,” Seifu said. “It’s going to be an ongoing conversation right up until the conference happens, but for now the emphasis is definitely on recruitment events and growth and just getting the word out.”