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Virtual Red Kettles and Plastic Cash

ATLANTA, Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Salvation Army looks at new ways to enhance traditional holiday fundraising Across the country, the nation's largest charitable organizations have reported drastic declines in donations. While The Salvation Army saw a national decline of 8.5% in revenue, thanks to a generous response to a summer Call To Action Fundraising Campaign, its metro Atlanta programs closed the year at just $620,000 (3%) below prior year totals. This holiday season, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta is looking to new and aggressive online tactics to draw donations to its Virtual Red Kettles, and wireless credit card machines at a number of its Traditional Red Kettle locations.

"The Salvation Army is an organization steeped in history and tradition, but over the years our traditional kettle campaign has been weakened by a decline in retail shopping, increase in online shopping, and a shortage of retail outlets willing to allow kettles and bellringers outside of their locations," explains Major James Seiler, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Commander, who says the traditional red kettles will begin trickling out November 15th and will be in full swing by November 22nd.

"There are no plans to do away with the beloved kettle tradition, but technology now affords us new ways to attract a more diverse group, and larger gifts from those who wish to give." Additionally, 30-50 of its traditional Red Kettle Bellringers at select Wal-mart, Simon Malls, and Sam's Club locations will be equipped with wireless credit card machines to allow passersby to donate more than the customary spare change.

On November 1st, The Salvation Army launched a Virtual Red Kettle Campaign on it's website at www.salvationarmyatlanta.org, which will be there through December 31, and is hosting weekly promotions on its Facebook and Twitter pages to engage new donors.

According to Seiler, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta's 2009 Online Red Kettle campaign netted the organization $91,000 last holiday season. This year, the charitable organization hopes to raise at least $200,000.

"The virtual kettles allow us to expand the program's time frame and encourage larger average gifts than the change typically placed with Bellringers outside of the stores. They also help us reach donors who elect to do their holiday shopping online. The credit card machines at kettles mean those who typically do not carry cash can still stop by a kettle and make a donation." Credit card kettles will be positioned at metro Atlanta area Wal-Marts, Simon Malls, and Kroger locations.

This year, 43,581 people received emergency assistance through The Salvation Army's Metro Atlanta area programs and services. Of them, 20,814 were first-time recipients of any form of Salvation Army assistance. A large number of them stated that they had contributed to The Salvation Army's Red Kettles in the past.

The 2009 Red Kettle Campaign raised $1.9 million dollars in funds used to provide new toys, clothing, meals, and provide emergency assistance to homeless and hungry families. This year, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta hopes to raise $2.1 million to help address the increasing needs of local individuals and families in need.

Statistical highlights: 43,581 people received emergency assistance with rent, utilities and food assistance. (50% of whom were first-time recipients of Salvation Army services) 139,249 meals were served to homeless men, women and children 47,243 holiday gifts were distributed to impoverished children and the elderly 14,501 visits to the elderly, sick and shut-ins in institutions during the holidays Find out more about The Salvation Army's Metro Atlanta programs, or become a holiday volunteer at www.salvationarmyatlanta.org, www.facebook.com/salvationarmymetroatlanta, @SalvationArmyA on Twitter.

SOURCE The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta www.prnewswire.com Copyright (C) 2010 PR Newswire. All rights reserved -0- KEYWORD: Georgia SUBJECT CODE: POL

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