Salvation Army goes High Tech
Posted by shadmia on November 7, 2008
The Salvation Army announced that it will try a new program to increase donations for this holiday season. It will now be possible to text a $5 donation directly from your cell phone to the charitable organization. The program will be introduced first in the Atlanta area, beginning around Thanksgiving:
“We’ve been putting kettles out for over a hundred years,” said James Seiler, commander of the Metro Atlanta Area Salvation Army. “This year we’re gonna try something different.”
Beginning in two weeks, cell phone users in the Atlanta area can text message “TSA” — which stands for “The Salvation Army” — to 90999 and a $5 donation will be added to their phone bill.
The phone number and instructions will be posted on the familiar red donation kettles outside 297 locations in the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The hope is that this alternative way of giving will appeal to cell phone users who may not be carrying extra cash.
“Society in general carries less cash,” said James Seiler. “It enables people who want to help, who want to support, to hit a few quick buttons on the telephone.”
With the economy in turmoil, charity organizations are having a tough time raising funds. An October study by GuideStar.org, which tracks nonprofit organizations, found that among 2,927 individuals representing at least 2,730 charitable organizations, 35 percent reported a decrease in gifts during the first nine months of 2008. That’s nearly twice as many as for the same period in 2007.
The Atlanta area has been hit hard with job losses according to Seiler, who says that some people who had given in the past have been coming to the organization looking for help. Last year the region gave $1.4 million to the charity between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year the goal is to raise $1.6 million.
The Salvation Army is also promoting online donations in Michigan and other states with its Online Red Kettle Promotion. They are encouraging people to logon on to OnlineRedKettle.Org