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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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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Congrats to Our Kettle Contest Winner! See you in Dallas

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Congratulations to Jim Cummings, the big winner of our Online Red Kettle contest!

Jim has won an expenses-paid trip to Dallas where he’ll be in the middle of all the Thanksgiving Day action straight from the seats of Cowboys Stadiums. That includes a rocking performance by Keith Urban during our Red Kettle Kickoff halftime show and a must-see match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints.

Of all individual online red kettles, Jim’s raised the most money, receiving donations all the way from Hong Kong, UK and Germany. Thanks Jim, for your work in helping raise funds to support Salvation Army services for those in need!

The contest may be over, but we still need virtual bell ringers! You can start your own online red kettle by registering at www.onlineredkettle.org.

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Tomorrow: Red Kettle Kickoff, LIVE from Cowboys Stadium!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

[Keith Urban]
Keith Urban will perform for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff during the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game halftime show. Game airs LIVE at 3:15CT/4:15ET on FOX.

Tomorrow’s the big day. Yes, Thanksgiving, but also…

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff! The event marks the official launch of our Christmas fundraising campaign, and as always, we’re doing it up BIG!

We’re teaming up with the Dallas Cowboys (marking 14 years of partnership)to bring you an amazing halftime show during their Thanksgiving Day game versus the New Orleans Saints. Three-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban will be the featured performer, rocking the stadium out with hits from his new album.

The Cowboys Game and Kettle Kickoff Halftime Show will air LIVE on FOX at 3:15CT/4:15ET.

So whether you’re gearing up for or winding down from your turkey dinner, be sure to tune in!

A scene from the 2009 Red Kettle Kickoff with Daughtry.

As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers across the country will ring bells and collect donations for people in need with our iconic red kettles. Over the years your generous contributions have helped us serve 30 million Americans each year, and last year you outdid yourselves – giving a record $139 million to our Red Kettle Campaign! Maybe this year we can surpass that too…but we’ll worry about breaking records later.

For now, enjoy your Thanksgiving, and enjoy the halftime show! We hope it will become a part of your family’s annual turkey day traditions.

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Our Red Kettles are even on CNN

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Salvation Army’s Major George Hood, National Community Relations and Development Secretary, appeared live on CNN yesterday with host Ali Velshi to discuss our 2010 Red Kettle Campaign.

As our iconic red kettles are already appearing on streets and by store fronts, Major Hood talked about how the money raised from this holiday tradition is critical in supporting local Army programs and services year round.

In case you missed the interview, we’ve got the video for you right here:

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Bell Ringers – From Festive to…Funky?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I can’t wait to see Salvation Army Red Kettles on street corners and outside store fronts and to hear the accompanying ring of hand bells.

Part of my anticipation has to do with the festiveness wrapped up in this tradition. For me, that familiar scene triggers the comforting realization that the holidays are here.

Most of my eagerness though has to do with the people. I can’t help but appreciate and respect bell ringers who have obviously taken time out of their schedule to stand on sidewalks and ring their hearts (or hands?) out in order help those in need.

My favorite is when I see a bell ringer get creative and incorporate their talents, usually singing or playing an instrument. Sure, it kicks up the “fun factor,” but mostly I love how a person’s devotion to their cause can inspire them to use their imagination and inspire others in return. With that in mind, you’ll understand my excitement when I came across this video this morning from The Salvation Army’s Northern Division (serving Minnesota and North Dakota):

I’ve seen carolers, and I’ve seen musicians, but rappers? That’s a first!

Apparently the “Salvation Souljas” made the music video to recruit more volunteer bell ringers, so I don’t know if they actually rhyme and dance when they’re manning the Kettles.

But if we happen to see an increase in funky, flowing bell ringers this season, now we know where the trend started!

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Kickin’ Off This Year’s Red Kettle Campaign Is…

Monday, October 25, 2010

The wait is over! Our National Advisory Board Chair Charlotte Jones Anderson made the announcement on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this evening…

Three-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban has been named the featured performer for this year’s Salvation Army’s Kettle Kickoff! That means you get to watch him rock out during the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show on November 25 aired on FOX. (Read our official press release here)

But instead of watching from your couch, how would you like to catch all the action live at Cowboys Stadium?

As a part of the Kettle Kickoff promotion, fans will have an opportunity to win an expense-paid trip to the game to see Keith’s performance and watch Dallas take on last year’s Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints. Just signup to be an Online Red Kettle virtual bell ringer at www.onlineredkettle.org, and the fans who collect the most donations for people in need have a chance to win! You can checkout rules and details at www.onlineredkettle.org, but the contest has started and there’s no time to waste, so we’re including key info below as well.

May the best virtual bell ringer win!

Eligibilty: The Contest is open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older, residing in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Employees, soldiers and officers affiliated with The Salvation Army and their family members are eligible to participate.

Contest Time Period: The Contest runs from October 25, 2010 through Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET.

How to Sign Up: Participants can sign up for individual Online Red Kettles on the Internet at www.onlineredkettle.org and following the directions provided.

Prize Package: The prize package includes:

* Two game tickets to the November 25, 2010, Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX

* Two field-level passes to the Keith Urban half-time performance

* One-night hotel stay for two persons at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in Dallas in a single room with two queen-sized beds

* Two round-trip coach-class airline tickets from U.S. destinations (excluding U.S. territories and outlying areas) on a major commercial carrier, subject to seat availability

Winner: The participant whose individual Online Red Kettle has the highest monetary total of donations as of November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET, will be declared the winner.

Tie-Breaker: In the event that more than one kettle has the exact same total, the person whose kettle was registered in the Online Red Kettle system first will be declared the winner.

Notification: The winner will be notified via the e-mail address they used to register their individual Online Red Kettle.

General Conditions: No purchase necessary.
Again, for more contest details please visit www.OnlineRedKettle.org or our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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Donations to Nation’s Biggest Charities Drop 11%

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A new report shows that donations to the nation’s 400 biggest charities dropped 11% last year, the most significant decline in the 20 years it’s been tracked. Ranked #2 on the list, The Salvation Army was no exception to the decrease having seen an 8.4% cut in donations.

The effects of our country’s economic recession have put charities in a sort of Catch-22. More people are in need and the demand for assistance increases, but fewer resources are available to meet this demand.

We would like to point out though, that even though our total charitable donations fell during 2009, generous givers like you still contributed a record amount to our Christmas Red Kettles. Every little penny counts in our mission to indiscriminately meet human need, so thank you for digging deep!

As the holiday season approaches yet again, please consider how you might be able to help The Salvation Army serve others during this time of overwhelming need. Like the rest of the population, we aren’t immune to the economic hardships, but we are committed to “doing the most good” in all circumstances.

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