This time of year, Salvation Army bell-ringers are a familiar sight (and sound!) outside of stores and on street corners. One sight that might not be quite so common is the “cashless red kettle” – a variation on the traditional Red Kettle stand that also includes a credit card reader.
As our society has become increasingly cashless, the Salvation Army saw a drop in donations. The organization has adjusted by offering alternative options like the cashless kettles, which were first introduced in 2008.
Other high-tech options include donating via text (similar to the fundraisers the Red Cross conducts for disaster relief), and the option to set up an “online kettle.”
Offering multiple ways to fund donations increases convenience for donors, but it adds other benefits as well – the cashless kettles provide donors with printed receipts for their tax-deductable donation, and they also led to an increase in the average donation amount. In 2008, the Salvation Army saw average donations of $15 using the cashless kettles, as compared to $2 in the physical kettles.