Giving to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign was essentially flat across all channels for 2018. End-of-year-donations totaled $433.7 million between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, down 0.85 percent from the $437.4 million reported for 2017, according to an announcement by The Salvation Army national headquarters in Alexandria, Va.
Donations to the traditional Red Kettle campaign were down between 1 and 2 percent for the third consecutive year. The campaign raised $142.7 million, about 1.25 percent less than the $144.5 million reported in 2017, following declines of 1.9 percent and 1.54 percent in 2017 and 2016, respectively. It’s the lowest total since 2013 when $135.9 million was reported.
Online giving through salvationarmyusa.org totaled $31.4 million, down 1.26 percent from the $31.8 million reported for 2017. Donations through direct mail, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and other cash gifts totaled the largest portions of year-end-giving at a total $259.6 million. The decline mirrors what many national charities encountered at year-end 2018.
The 2018 Red Kettle Campaign kicked off with a satellite media tour at AT&T Stadium in Irving, Texas, the day before Thanksgiving. The Dallas Cowboys also showcased #FightForGood on national television just before Meghan Trainor’s live halftime performance of the Thanksgiving Day game.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott reprised his “red kettle leap” during the Thanksgiving Day game, donating $21 and “donating” quarterback Dak Prescott to the giant Red Kettle in the end zone. After the game, Elliott, Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys joined forces to match all $21 donations, donating up to $21,000 each. Additionally, a portion of all sales from shopzeke21.com were donated to The Salvation Army.
With the help of Amazon Alexa, The Salvation Army made the ability to donate easier. Amazon Alexa owners contributed to The Salvation Army’s efforts by simply saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army” and specifying the amount to give. The Salvation Army did not report specific results by digital channel.
Corporate partners play a big part in the annual Red Kettle campaign. Red kettles outside nearly 6,700 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across the U.S. collected $43.2 million, which contributed about 30 percent of the $142.7 million total. The Kroger Co. hosted Red Kettles at more than 2,700 locations, raising $16.2 million, or about 13 percent of the total. Red kettles at JCPenney stores nationwide raised approximately $2.1 million, nearly 1,500 Walgreens locations raised $2.2 million, 550 Big Lots locations raised $728,000, and 90 Bass Pro Shops locations raised $600,000.
As part of their annual sock drive, Hanes donated 25,000 pairs of socks to The Salvation Army for those in need, bringing the total number of socks donated during the past nine years to more than 2.4 million pairs.
For every “like” to a local Cricket Wireless store page, Cricket Wireless donated $1 toward the purchase of toys for The Salvation Army, totaling $50,000.
UPS ran its fifth annual “Wishes Delivered” campaign, a global initiative that spreads goodwill and inspiration by delivering special wishes to individuals in the communities UPS serves. For every video wish shared with the campaign’s hashtag, UPS donated $1, culminating in $100,000, that was then equally split among three selected charity partners including The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign originated in 1891 in San Francisco, Calif.