Juggling and the Fine Art of Fundraising
Throughout the campaign each year, the Salvation Army always looks for "novel ideas like a diamond ring that's dropped into a red kettle, which has happened, and that will create some excitement and energy," Hood says. "One location emptied their kettle out to count the money at the end of the day and there was a white piece of paper folded up tightly. Inside were eight $100 bills. There's always novel things that happen, people that put things into the kettle that create lots of media interest. So we try to keep track of those and then release those kinds of stories."
This all was in addition to the biggest moneymaker, the actual physical red kettles and bell-ringers on the streets.
For a while, it looked as though revenues were going to remain flat — somewhat disheartening but certainly understandable given the economy. However, when all the tallies finally came in from the smaller communities to the national headquarters, the Salvation Army had set a Red Kettle record for the sixth straight year.
In all, $142 million was raised during the 2010 Red Kettle campaign, more than a 2 percent increase over 2009's previous record of $139 million. Most of that came through the physical red kettles outside of corporate partners' storefronts. Red kettles located at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations raised $42 million combined ($37 million and $5 million, respectively), 30 percent of 2010's total. The Wal-Mart Foundation also made a $1 million direct donation to the Salvation Army.
The Off the Field event raised a donation of $100,000. Kroger food chains hosted red kettles at nearly 2,000 stores, raising $11.8 million, and donations at more than 800 Big Lots stores raised $1.3 million. J.C. Penney helped raise more than $3 million in red kettle donations across its stores, and nearly 70,000 children and seniors were adopted in time for Christmas via the Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree, a 40 percent increase from the inaugural 2009 implementation.