Red Kettles Mobile Donations

A shopper donates cash to the Salvation Army's annual holiday red kettle campaign on Nov. 15, with a reminder that mobile contributions are also excepted on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. Cashless shoppers have a new option to give to the Army's red kettle campaign this year using their smartphone. Leaders hope adding Apple and Google payment options will boost fundraising.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is undoubtedly the nonprofit organization’s most famous fundraising program. It’s hard to miss — volunteer bellringers stand outside big box retailers and other busy areas collecting donations big and small from Black Friday to Christmas.

Lately, though, the campaign has run into a few challenges, including waning foot traffic at brick-and-mortar retailers. But it’s biggest challenge — cashless shoppers. The Red Kettle Campaign has always counted on shoppers exiting stores with the change from their purchase in hand, but more shoppers are turning to cashless payment options, including credit and debit cards and mobile phone payments.

Like any good business, The Salvation Army has decided to go where shoppers are going — digital. Donors can now contribute with a tap of their smartphone, the organization announced last month.

Tested in select markets last year, The Salvation Army is rolling out near field communication stickers on all of its red kettles nationwide. NFC is the technology behind mobile phone payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay, allowing users to tap their phone to credit card readers to make their purchase. The Salvation Army’s stickers contain microchips that will allow users the same option — all they’ve got to do is tap their phone to it and donors will be directed to a custom form where they can make a gift of their choice.

The technology is compatible with iPhone X and iPhone 11 models, and most Android phones. A QR code also will be available to scan for earlier model phones. Donations will go to The Salvation Army corps community center closest to the donor’s billing zip code.

“The goal is to give supporters who are not carrying cash the ability to quickly donate to The Salvation Army as they’re walking by a red kettle,” said Scott Justvig, executive director of development and communications for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division.

“We hope this new technology will make it easier than ever to join The Salvation Army’s Fight for Good.”

The Red Kettle Campaign was fully deployed on Black Friday. People will still have the opportunity to donate spare change and cash at all Red Kettle locations.

The Salvation Army in Paris has announced it needs more volunteers to man bell ringing locations. To sign up, visit or call 903-784-7548.

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6960 or

Managing Editor

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News and the editor of Paris Life Magazine. He resides in Paris with his wife, Krystle, and their three children, Charlie, Annalise and Willow.

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