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The Red Kettle Goes Virtual

I remember one particularly difficult holiday season when my ex and I had both lost our jobs and found out that we would have to move from the place we were renting. This would have been hard enough to handle, but the fact that we had 4 children and that the holidays were approaching made the situation even more desperate.

That year, the Salvation Army helped us out financially and they also bought the kids Christmas gifts. I felt very humbled by the whole thing, and yet so very grateful too.

This year, when we were shopping, I saw the familiar red kettle at our local Walmart. The Salvation Army worker standing at the kettle was singing his own jazzed up version of the Christmas carols and ringing the bell loudly. My son stopped and clapped and danced alongside the kettle for a while! I gave him some change to put in the kettle and he was so thrilled! The man stopped his singing and said, ?God bless you child. Have a most wonderful Christmas.? Then he went back to singing and ringing his bell, and we continued on to the store.

I was surprised to learn that the Salvation Army is also using other methods to boost donations. In Atlanta, GA and Columbus, OH, donors can use cell phones to text $5 to the Salvation Army. Text the letters TSA to 90999 in Atlanta; in Columbus, text KETTLE to 90999.

The Online Red Kettle program allows anyone to set up a virtual kettle on their website and gather donations from friend, family, and website visitors. Facebook members can add widgets to their pages to solicit donations too. You can also follow the Red Kettle Campaign progress on Twitter. Of course, you can always go old school and donate in person like we did.

In 2007, the Salvation Army helped 29 million people in the United States alone with over $118 million it received from the Red Kettle Campaign. This year, requests for help have increased and officials are hoping to be able to help as many people as possible.

Do you think using social networking like Twitter and Facebook is a good way to increase donations? Would you donate via these methods? Have you every donated to a cause via texting?

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