One of the most familiar sights during the holidays is that of a Salvation Army volunteer ringing his or her bell next to the organization's famous red kettle in an attempt to drum up donations for the less fortunate.
Now the charity organization is taking donating to the 21st century. Beginning this holiday season, it will equip most of its red kettles with a card reader, allowing even those without a bit of spare change to chip in by taking on credit card debt instead, according to a report from Jonesboro, Arkansas, television station KAIT.
"I think it's a wonderful idea being able to swipe a card and make a donation and not have to worry about digging in your pocket for change," donor Curtis Steele told the station.
People who want to donate can either take on credit card debt or use debit as they would at any other point-of-sale device in a store, as the Salvation Army hopes this ease of use will lead to additional money in its coffers. To make the process even simpler, there are instructions affixed to every machine.
Mark Boatman, a captain with the Arkansas Salvation Army, told the station that by taking on credit card debt to donate at these new devices, consumers have the added benefit of being able to prove they gave to charity, and therefore claim it as a deduction on their taxes. The machine will print two copies of the receipt, one to be deposited in the kettle, the other to be kept for personal records.
In addition to the credit card readers, the charity will also allow consumers to donate via text message, the report said. By sending the message "give" to 85944, Americans will donate $10, which will appear on their next phone bill. This method of giving may be preferable to those who want to avoid credit card debt. Similarly, the charity will continue to accept donations through its web site as it has in the past.
Many charities across the country are now looking into new ways to drum up revenues as the nation continues to recover from the recession. A number have found success in introducing other high-tech payment options allowing donors to give money with greater ease.