I do my best not to get sappy around this time of year, but I was touched to read this story from CNN.com (click here to read) about the Salvation Army coming to the rescue of a couple in need. The story talks at length about their health care bills being the reason they couldn't make their house payment and about how after years of donating to the Salvation Army, the couple went there for help.
It's nice to see that people are still willing to remember the spirit of giving, even if it's only a few cents. Cents, I might add, that turned into $118 Million last year.
But what really impressed me were the details of the Salvation Army's use of text messaging and Twitter to get people to donate. When you text the SA's "Online Red Kettle" on your cell phone, you get to donate via your phone bill. Following the SA's kettle on Twitter keeps you abreast of important information from the 143-year-old organization.
So, what is this about? Convenience? How can it get more convenient than people standing outside a store with red buckets of money? Rules that out.
What about awareness? Who could make you MORE aware of the Salvation Army than a person wringing a bell as you walk by?
I think it's something different altogether. Look at the concept of "citizen journalism", which is a fancy way of saying that when given access to the internet, people will tell what they saw, what they think, and what they know. The reason paper folks are hurting is because what they're charging for, the public is giving each other for FREE!
The SA sees this, too, and allows people to set up "kettles" of their own - on personal websites, Facebook pages, and blogs. When you offer the opportunity for people to take on your cause in a space that they use frequently and give their friends access to, you open yourself to the chances you won't be afforded on those city sidewalks - busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style.
Want to be a part of the Salvation Army's programs? Here are some links to get you started.