Don’t have cash? Try making a donation to the Salvation Army this year with your phone

  • Gov. Chris Sununu tries out the new digital donation option by using his phone Tuesday during the Salvation Army’s kick-off of its Red Kettle Campaign in the Executive Council Chambers. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 11/28/2019 4:58:34 PM

If you’ve been meaning to make a donation to one of the Salvation Army’s red kettles this year but rarely carry cash, they’ve got you in mind.

For the first time, the Salvation Army is accepting donations through your smartphone by either Apple Pay or Google Pay, or by scanning a QR code to use your credit card online.

Each of the kettle signs now contains a chip that emits a small magnetic field. If you have an online payment application set up on your phone, just swipe and pick how much you want to donate.

“It’s all-new this year,” said Patricia James, a regional spokeswoman for the Salvation Army. “We’re trying to get caught up with technology.”

This year’s goal is to collect $97,000 locally, which is $2,000 more than last year, said Major Rick Starkey. With Thanksgiving coming so late this year, it won’t be easy.

Kettles have already been out at the Market Basket supermarkets in Concord and Warner since last Wednesday. More kettles will be stationed outside the national chain stores like Walmart and Sam’s Club starting Black Friday.

So far the Concord Salvation Army has collected $12,000, but that total is off-pace because the Thanksgiving kickoff to the Christmas season falls so late this year.

“It’s almost Dec. 1 and we only go to Dec. 24,” Starkey said. We’ve got $85,000 to go before Christmas.”

Starkey said people in Concord are always generous and the week before Christmas is when donations are strongest.

The organization hopes to collect just over $1 million statewide this year, which is how much it took in last year. The money helps provide food and clothing to needy families around the holidays, pay for children to go summer camp, support two homeless shelters in the state and provide emergency aid after a tragedy like a fire.

“We’re always optimistic with the support we hope to get from people in the state,” James said. “We’re hoping people donate because it helps their neighbors.”

The online payment option is an attempt to reverse the trend of dwindling donations, James said.

“One of the main reasons donations have declined is we are a cashless society,” James said. “This allows them another option to make a donation.”

Starkey isn’t sure how people will respond to the new option to pay with their phones, but he hopes it helps.

“We’ve been hearing for years, ‘I don’t carry cash,’ ” he said. “We’re trying to make it easy to donate.”

One small downside to the program is the donation is given to the Salvation Army branch that corresponds with the zip code on the giver’s credit card. So if someone from Manchester is shopping in Concord and makes a donation by credit card here, that money goes back to the Salvation Army in the Queen City.

“If you live in Manchester and give $10 here, I don’t get that $10,” Starkey said. On the other hand, if people from Concord are shopping elsewhere in the state, their online donations will come right back home.

The Salvation Army has kettles stationed around the Concord area in numerous locations, including Concord’s Walmart, Sam’s Club, Market Basket supermarkets on Fort Eddy Road and Storrs Street, the New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet on Storrs Street, Shaws on D’Amante Drive and the Market Basket in Warner. Some of the busiest locations, like the Market Basket on Fort Eddy Road, get a kettle stationed at each exit. With an extra downtown location, the total number of kettles that can be out at one time is 11.

On an average day with the number of available bell ringers, the Salvation Army has about six to eight kettles out in the Concord area. Each kettle collects about $300 per day, Starkey said.

Most kettles are out from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. No donations are collected on Sundays.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer to be a bell-ringer can reach the Salvation Army by calling 225-5586.

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