Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Raised Record $130 Million in 2008

The Salvation Army has announced that donations to its iconic Red Kettle campaign reached a record $130 million in 2008, topping the $118 million it raised in 2007.

The amount raised represents a 10 percent year-over-year increase in donations to the campaign — the largest one-year jump since 1997. The boost was due in part to an increase in corporate partnerships and the use of tech-based fundraising approaches, including cashless red kettles that allowed donors to pay by credit or debit card and a text-messaging service that enabled cell phone users to contribute via their phone bills. In general, Internet giving grew by 28 percent last year, reaching a total of $10 million.

The Salvation Army saw significant growth in donations in the eastern (19 percent) and southern (12 percent) United States, while donations in the western and central regions grew at between 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Donations to red kettles at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores accounted for more than $34 million, or 26 percent, of the total raised, while the Wal-Mart Foundation also provided a $1.25 million grant to the campaign.

"We know that Americans always give more in times of need, so we were confident that they would again respond to the call with an outstanding show of generosity," said Salvation Army national commander Israel L. Gaither. "We thank all the donors, volunteers, and corporate partners for their contributions and stand resolute in our mission to serve those who need it most. The Red Kettle campaign is stronger than ever, as it must be during these challenging times."

"Salvation Army Sets New Red Kettle Record Through Recession." Salvation Army Press Release 03/17/2009.