Dreaming of a Green Christmas
“If they signed up for that, they also wouldn’t receive a mail appeal every month,” she says, adding that the organization mails to its entire database at Christmas, no matter the frequency choices the rest of the year. Every donor also gets The Salvation Army newsletter.
Not entirely unique
Telemarketing isn’t entirely new to The Salvation Army. Brace explains that the division’s commander will leave phone messages for active donors, alerting them to upcoming mail drops such as the Thanksgiving and fiscal year-end appeals, for example.
And the Christmas in July theme is one that went beyond telemarketing. The Western Pennsylvania Division raised nearly $40,000 in July this year through a combination of Hang-a-Kettle sales (where customers at retail locations pay a dollar for cut-out paper kettles that they write their names on and hang in a specific location in the store) and actual kettle donation locations with bell ringers like at Christmas time. This summer, the Army teamed up with the Eckerd pharmacy chain for the program. While the national Salvation Army is there as a resource for its many local divisions, the Christmas in July campaign — both in stores and on the phone — was an idea that came from the Western Pennsylvania Division.
Naturally, the best time for donations for The Salvation Army is October through early January, with spikes around Easter and its May/June campaign appeal. The slowest time is midsummer, and the overriding message for any campaign during that time, Brace says, basically is, “Hey … people still need us!”
“Because of the increase in utilities and gasoline, the price of most everything has gone up,” she explains. “This means that more and more families are struggling to make ends meet and are turning to us for help.
“A lot of times we use the fact that [donations] are slow during the summer and direct-mail [response] is down in that time but that
the need in the communities is up,” she adds.