Some Tips from the Reigning Online Kettle King

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We know. Salvation Army bell ringers are probably all over the place in your town! but there’s even more of them that you don’t see because their kettles are all online.

Yep. Virtual bell ringers.

And Jim Cummings from Denver, CO seems to be the virtual kettle king. So far this season his online kettle has raised a hefty $52,000, nearly 75% of his $70,000 goal. The guy’s good!

So good, in fact, that this is actually his 5th year in a row to raise the most money for an individual online kettle. As you recall, this Thanksgiving his efforts earned him a trip to our Red Kettle Kickoff in Dallas. In past years his outstanding kettle also won him another trip to Dallas to attend The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board Conference. Jim is on the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Metro Denver where he is 1st vice chair.

[Jim Cummings]
Jim hands out and posts cards encouraging people to donate to his online kettle. This is one side…

How’s he do it? Jim does a great job of reaching out to friends, family, and coworkers through email to encourage them to help him fill his online red kettle. And even something as simple as an email pays off big.

“I am a retired partner of Deloitte and a large portion of my gifts come through present and past Deloitte personnel from all over the world,” he says. “I have received gifts this year from Hong Kong, UK and Germany.”

But as many contacts as Jim already has, he’s not afraid to enlist the help of acquaintances.

Jim regularly volunteers with a real bell and kettle at Walmart and the mall. When people pass by or donate their change, he hands them a card he pre-printed with information about how to donate to his online red kettle. They may forget Jim’s name and web address by the time they get home, but they’ve got the handout to remind them! He also posts the cards at various places like Starbucks and church.

[Jim Cummings ]
…and this is the other.

How does he feel after all that work?

“It was a lot of fun,” he admits. “A lot of people wanted to see me win.”

His impressive record has earned him a special nickname from his church pastor:
“#1 ding-a-ling.”

So what advice can Jim give someone who wants to support The Salvation Army but doesn’t think standing on street corners with a bell and kettle is their thing?

He recommends do it all online by hosting you own virtual red kettle. The website is easy to work with and raising support is as simple as sending an email to friends and family.

To start your own individual or team (yes, get others involved too!) kettle, visit www.onlineredkettle.org.

Who knows, maybe next year you’ll give Jim a run for his money for the 2011 title of #1 ding-a-ling.



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Get Ready To Rock the Red Kettle with These Rock Bands

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Salvation Army has a lot going on at Christmas time, but this year we’re trying something completely new, and we have a feeling that it’s going to be awesome.

It’s our inaugural Rock the Red Kettle Concert, happening in only one week!

On Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7pm PST at The Americana at Brand Shopping Center in Glendale, CA, the hottest new young rock bands are going to perform together for this FREE concert open to the public. We’ll stream the whole thing LIVE from www.ustream.tv/rocktheredkettle so you can even watch from your computer.

The hit lineup includes:

With this concert we want to reach and inspire a younger generation of philanthropists.

Plenty of kids, tweens, and teens are looking for opportunities to make a difference and get behind a worthy cause, so with the help of these bands, The Salvation Army is going to show them how to do it.

In between songs and sets, the audience will get to know more about the good the Army does and how the technology they use everyday can be tied in to support our mission. We’ve got everything from online red kettles, a Text to Give initiative, an iPhone bellringer app, and Facebook and Twitter pages ready to be harnessed by the tech saavy teenage masses!

Check back with our blog next Wednesday when we’ll post the live streaming video.

It’s guaranteed to be a rockin’ good time. You won’t want to miss this!

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Check Out These Ringers

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We’ve been hearing about some unique Red Kettle bell ringers who are using creative approaches to help raise more money for Salvation Army services in their communities.

These ringers will make you take a second look if you pass by their kettles.

Tinker the Tiny Horse. She doesn’t have hands but she still manages to ring for hours. Watch video

Elvis Presley -The King lives afterall…singing and ringing and shakin’ his hips at Wal-Mart. Watch Video

Union Soldiers Vs. Confederate Soldiers – They’re at it again, but this time they’re fighting for bragging rights of best Red Kettle fundraiser. Read more

Dallas Cowboys Football Players vs. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – This team is even competitive off the field…but do they stand a chance against the ladies? Read more

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Dear Target, I’ve Been Very Good This Year

Monday, December 6, 2010

Do you know what you’re asking for from Santa this year?

Maybe you haven’t had a chance to think about it, but now’s as good a time as any. Target is in the giving mood, and your holiday wish list can help people in need!

By submitting a Gift of Joy wish list on Target’s Facebook page, you will help them donate up to $50,000 to The Salvation Army. They’re contributing $5 per list, so get your friends and family involved!

Just visit Target on Facebook (www.facebook.com/target) and select the ‘Give Joy’ tab here.

Then pick 5 items from the selection for your Gift of Joy wish list.

Done. It’s that easy.

And as if that weren’t enough, you also get an opportunity to enter into a drawing for a chance to win a Target gift card!

That’s it. No buying, no wrapping, no nothing. Just tell Target what you’re wishing for and someone in need will have their holiday dreams come true, thanks to you.

Click here to Enter the Sweepstakes

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He’s Our New Favorite Elf

Friday, December 3, 2010

This man has got to be the cutest elf we’ve ever seen…

But the toys he makes year round don’t go towards Santa’s stash. They go to The Salvation Army.

The elf is 90 year-old Sidney Johnson of Fremont, Nebraska who uses his skills to create beautiful toys to benefit underprivileged children. He’s made hundreds over the last several years, and he could have probably made even more if his family didn’t impose a 1 toy/day limit to keep the elderly elf from wearing himself out!

A Nebraska NBC news station recently ran the story and video [embedded above], which are being picked up by affiliates around the country. It’s apparent that we at The Salvation Army aren’t the only ones who love the guy – just read the comments viewers posted here under the original news story, and you’ll get an idea of the fan base that has rallied around Mr. Johnson!

Mr. Johnson, The Salvation Army would like to echo those sentiments of appreciation. We are blessed by your kindness and sincerely grateful for your selfless efforts to serve underprivileged families. You’ve been a wonderful blessing to far many more people than you know!

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The Story of the Red Kettle

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We’re officially in the Christmas season, and chances are you’ve seen or will soon see our Salvation Army Red Kettles and bell ringers while you’re out and about.

Our Red Kettles have become a holiday icon – just ask anybody about them and they’ll know what you’re talking about. But do you know how this tradition started?

Today I thought it would be helpful to share the history of The Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle Campaign to give you a deeper understanding of the heart behind this century-old tradition. Here goes:

In San Francisco during December of 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor, but he had no way to pay for all that food from his own pocket. So the question remained, how would he do it?

His thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the Stage Landing he saw a large iron kettle called “Simpson’s pot” into which passers-by dropped charitable donations.

The next day he received permission to place a similar kettle at the Oakland ferry landing. No time was lost in securing the pot and placing it in a conspicuous position, so that it could be seen by all those going to and from the ferry boats. Beside it he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” Word spread of his endeavor and he quickly raised the funds to feed 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas day! But he didn’t end it there.

By 1985 the kettle was used in 30 Salvation Army locations along the West Coast, and shortly after they spread to the East Coast. In 1897, the kettle fundraising campaign in Boston and other cities helped pay for 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy.

Thus, Captain McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world.

Today, donations raised through our Christmas Red Kettle Campaign fund a vast range of Salvation Army programs and services that serve 30 million Americans year round.

So remember, when you’re dropping a donation in to a Red Kettle, you’re continuing a long standing tradition, but most importantly, you’re making it possible for The Salvation Army to continue to serve the those most in need.

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Help Hanes Warm 1 Million Feet

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Did you know that socks are the number one requested item at homeless shelters?

Hanes, the #1 sock brand in America, does. That’s why they’ve launched a virtual sock drive to benefit The Salvation Army.

For each person that ‘Likes’ Hanes on Facebook and clicks ‘Help Hanes Donate,’ the brand will donate one pair of socks. Last year they set a goal of 100,000 pairs and met it in one day! Due to the overwhelming support, this year they’ve raised the goal to 500,000.

Help Hanes and The Salvation Army knock this year’s drive out of the park again by warming up 1 million feet. Visit Hanes on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Hanes or find more info at www.Hanes.com.

There’s even a cool sock-o-meter to monitor the amount of support raised so far…but I’m not going to tell you how many socks have already been pledged. You’ve got to go see for yourself!

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Cheesecake Factory Makes Hearts and Stomachs Happy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today we want to give our friends at The Cheesecake Factory a big shout out and thank you for their help in ‘doing the most good’ for people in need.

On Thanksgiving Day, for the 9th year in a row, more than 3,000 Cheesecake Factory staffers volunteered to serve a Thanksgiving Day Feast at Salvation Army Community Centers across the country.

From Anaheim to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Long Island, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, they served up A-MAZ-ING meals to more than 6,000 low-income families and individuals.

There was turkey and all the trimmings, plus… The Cheesecake Factory’s famous Pumpkin Cheesecake! Yum! Their cheesecake is so good you order it before your meal (if you’ve ever eaten at the restaurant, you know what I’m talking about).

The delicious food and friendly service from the volunteers made for an incredible feast that our Salvation Army clients will not soon forget.

Thank you, Cheesecake Factory, for sharing the love and sharing the food to meet the needs of the hungry.

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The Most Important Text Message You can Send

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recent studies show teens send and receive on average almost 3,340 text messages per month! Older cell phone users aren’t quite as active, but even those in their 50’s still average several hundred. To state the obvious – that’s a lot.

Imagine if we used even a small portion of all the text messages we send to make a lasting impact on others.

With The Salvation Army’s Text to Give campaign, we can.

Just text “GIVE” to 85944 to donate $10, and you will help provide a meal for a hungry family, a place to sleep for the homeless, job training skills for an out of work individual, or other life-changing opportunities for those in need.

That’s a text message that says a lot.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you are enjoying a blessed holiday with your family and friends. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Cooking all day? Or just eating the food…

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