When you think of The Salvation Army, you immediately picture a bell ringer with their red kettle in front of your favorite store during the holiday season. While the Red Kettle is The Salvation Army’s most successful fundraising campaign, they knew donors were turning to the Internet to make philanthropic choices. So, the head of The Salvation Army, Linda Bond, issued a challenge to her organization to embrace new technologies and make it easier for donors to contribute.
Traditionally, gifts were given anonymously through handfuls of change placed in the kettles. A new online approach would ensure that the organization could track their donors, obtain vital information and reach the next generation of supporters. “We need to see all the people who engage with us in a new way. This person responds to direct mail; this one drops off clothing at one of our addiction centers; this one volunteers. We used to put them all into separate silos. We now realize that people interact with us in so many different ways, and we’re preparing for a future where they will interact even more with us,” says Dean Feener, The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory’s Director of Mission Information Systems.
The organization began with the knowledge that a major part of online success was integrating multiple tactics, such as website, social media, mobile outreach and peer-to-peer fundraising. It decided to enlist Blackbaud’s online and fundraising solutions for support, and found that embracing new technologies was invaluable. As a result, The Salvation Army’s presence online is now even superior to many organizations in the for-profit sector, spelling a significant paradigm shift in the way charities reach out to and communicate with supporters.
To learn about specific tactics the Salvation Army used, download the fall 2012 edition of the npENGAGE digital magazine.