Alexandria, VA (March 17, 2009) – Donations to The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles set a new national record of $130 million in 2008, surpassing the previous record of $118 million set in 2007. The $130 million raised represents a 10 percent growth in donations year-over-year – the largest one-year jump since 1997.
Geographically, the Army saw large increases in donations to its kettles in the Eastern and Southern territories, by 19 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the Western and Central territories experienced giving increases between 5 and 7 percent. The Army’s overall national growth in spite of the ongoing economic downturn is attributed to the continuous generosity of the American people, a large breadth of corporate partnerships and the greater application of innovative 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.”
Notably, donations to red kettles at Walmart 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, Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations hosted bell ringers and red kettles on November 8 for a pre-campaign “special day of giving” to give extra support to local communities facing tough economic times.
“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.”
To help spur donations in 2008, The Salvation Army offered new tech-savvy ways to give. For donors who don’t regularly carry money, the Army tested cashless red kettles in Denver, CO and Dallas, TX, that made it possible to donate via credit or debit card. Also, several locations piloted a text messaging service that allowed cell phone users to contribute via their phone bills. Internet giving, meanwhile, rose an impressive 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 allows friends and family of our supporters to donate more easily than years past via the internet.”
In addition, The Salvation Army worked with several corporate partners, which hosted kettles at stores, ran Red Kettle events, made direct donations, and/ or engaged in other promotional activities, including:
- The Kroger Company’s well-known grocery banners hosted kettles at store locations across the country, 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, which played a variety of classic Christmas songs. The application sold for $2.99, with $1 going to the Army;
- The National Hockey League (NHL) hosted Online Red Kettles on team websites, which saw hockey fans to donate to the Army’s Online Red Kettle Campaign;
- Shell Oil raised $100,000 for The Salvation Army through the “Change is Good, Giving is Better” promotion;
- Target made two separate $1 million donations to the Campaign and also sold Salvation Army Christmas items, including ornaments and CDs in stores with a percentage of the proceeds going to the Army.
Shell Lubricants Presents $100,000 Check to The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army kicked off the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign with the Dallas Cowboys and the chart-topping Jonas Brothers band. The Jonas brothers (Kevin, Nick, and Joe) performed at the 12th annual Red Kettle Campaign in front of a nationally television audience at halftime of the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game to support the Army. 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.
From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable outreach efforts in the United States. As part of the drive, more than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers fan out across the country to ring bells and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. The nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) are all used to help those in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army serve nearly 29 million Americans in need, including nearly 5 million who received holiday assistance such as toys, coats, rent and utility aid, among other services.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 128 years in the United States. Nearly 29 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.