Salvation Army Gets Savvy This Holiday Season

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Salvation Army volunteers will have more ways than ever by which to accept donations this holiday season as many of them will be outfitted to accept contributions via credit and debit cards.

It’s that time of year when shoppers can expect to start hearing the incessant bell ringing of volunteers standing beside a bright red donation kettle. Some of these volunteers will be decked out in Santa suits, others will not, but all will be bundled up against the elements as they brave the cold in order to coax harried holiday shoppers into handing over a few dollars for those in need.

Beneath the chime of the bell there will be another noise this year – the faint clatter of credit cards being swiped.

In South Carolina, the Salvation Army of Aiken has already received a charitable gift of four credit card terminals that will enable volunteers manning the kettles to accept donations from cash-strapped citizens who want to be generous by way of a payment card. Veracity Payment Solution is responsible for donating the machines.

“People can swipe their card at any terminal, select the amount they wish to give, and their donation makes the same difference in the community,” said Angela Repass, an Aiken Salvation Army Capt., according to The Aiken Standard.

No finance charges will be associated with and credit or debit donations.

Elsewhere in the country Salvation Army volunteers will be using the Square mobile payment system to accept plastic donations on smartphones and tablets. The charity will outfit 10 volunteers with Square in each of the following cities:  Dallas, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Thanks to a generous gift from Sprint Nextel, those 10 bell ringers in each location will also carry Android smartphones with which to complete payment transactions.

Salvation Army spokesperson Maj. George Hood indicated that what the organization is attempting to do is “basically trying to make sure we’re keeping up with our donors and embrace the new technologies they’re embracing,” as reported byThe New York Times.

As shoppers carry less and less cash on them each holiday season, it is a wise move by the Salvation Army to be equipped to be able to accept digital donations from charitable consumers.

“A lot of people just don’t carry cash anymore,” said Maj. George Hood, according to The New York Times.

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