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Salvation Army’s Holiday Giving Up 27 Percent

Online donations doubled and mail-in donations spiked 49 percent as The Salvation Army raised a half-billion dollars this past holiday season.

The Alexandria, Va.-headquartered charity announced last week that it had raised $557.3 million during the 2020 holiday season, an increase of 27 percent over the 2019 campaign. The iconic Red Kettle campaign raised $118.9 million. In 2018, end-of-year-donations totaled $433.7 million.

By early September, The Salvation Army was projecting that last year’s campaign might fall short as much as $60 million because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with retail stores closed early in the year, scores of its own retail center closed for months, and more people doing their shopping online. In response, the organization launched a “Rescue Christmas” campaign to increase giving through online and in-home channels. The Red Kettle campaign in recent years has officially kicked off during halftime of the Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys football game.

The Salvation Army provides food, shelter, and social services to more than 30 million Americans in need through 7,600 centers of operation. Since the beginning of 2020, the charity has provided an all-time high of services including more than 225 million meals, an additional 1.76 million nights of shelter, and 902,321 instances of emotional and spiritual care to individuals.

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Red Kettles were on display at 10,099 storefront locations in the United States, generating $118.9 million. Walmart customers and Sam’s Club members donated an estimated $42 million online and in person to the Red Kettle campaign, contributing toward $65.5 million raised via  retail partners, including:

  • $12.5 million at 2,131 Kroger Co. locations;
  • $5.7 million at 854 Hobby Lobby locations;
  • $1.1 million at 735 Walgreens locations;
  • $771,975 at 381 JCPenney locations;
  • $728,752 at 280 Macy’s locations;
  • $671,679 at 336 Food Lion locations;
  • $489,196 at 325 Big Lots locations;
  • $426,941 at 63 Cabela’s locations;
  • $453,472 at 58 Bass Pro Shops locations;
  • $421,811 at 72 Rural King locations;
  • $188,674 at 114 Dillard’s locations;
  • $25,459 at 13 Bloomingdale’s locations; and,
  • $22,384 at 12 Mardel locations.

The Red Kettle campaign has its origins in 1891 when as a Salvation Army captain’s startup program in San Francisco.

The Salvation Army ranked No. 5 on the 2020 NPT 100, a study of the largest nonprofits in the nation, reporting total revenue of $3.65 billion, including public support of $1.95 billion.

This article originally ran at The NonProfit Times. It is reprinted with permission. 

Mark Hrywna

Senior Editor, NonProfit Times. Journalist currently covering various aspects of the nonprofit sector, including fundraising, finance, technology and more for The NonProfit Times, a national trade publication.