TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Salvation Army is upping their game this year with a new way to donate.
This season, bell ringers are equipped with Apple and Google pay options to allow people a way to donate through their phones.
Sue Linden of the Terre Haute Salvation Army said they are catching up with the times and helping people give back to the community all in one step.
Americans’ dependence on physical cash to make purchases has declined over time, especially among people who make more than $75,000 per year, according to the Pew Research Center. The same survey found about 46% of Americans “don’t really worry much” about leaving home without cash because of all their other payment options.
Nonprofits of all types have increased their focus on online fundraising in response, but campaigns that rely on spur-of-the-moment donations outside stores directly feel the effects of consumers’ cashless lifestyle.
The Salvation Army has tested other cashless options in recent years, including a text message-based program and credit and debit card readers that plugged into bell ringers’ phones. But both were time consuming compared to dropping cash into the kettle.
The physical change to the kettles is subtle — a tag containing microchip has been added to the Salvation Army sign attached to each red kettle stand.
Donors tap their phone to the tag, opening a donation form that suggests giving $5, $10 or $25. Donors also can type in a different amount.
People whose phones aren’t compatible with contactless payment systems can use their camera to photograph a QR code, opening a similar donation form.
If that isn’t easy enough, the Salvation Army now has dip buckets that also allow people to use their credit cards.
Any mobile donations are sent to the Salvation Army chapter nearest to the donor’s billing zip code.
Some of the organization biggest fundraising is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year marks the 129th campaign using the bright red kettles, staffed by bell ringers outside grocery stores and popular shopping spots.
“Now’s the time to donate, after Christmas that’s it for the year,” said Linden.
Linden said this time of year donations are needed the most to provide what’s needed for less fortunate families.
If donating money isn’t an option this season, a donation of time is always valued by the Salvation army.
To sign up to volunteer or be a bell ringer visit: https://www.registertoring.com