As more and more people carry less and less cash on them, charities who rely on donations must adapt with the times as a majority of retail transactions are now completed electronically.
Major Charles Pinkston with the Salvation Army in Jacksonville says that shoppers in the Jacksonville area can now donate to the Red Kettle Campaign electronically, either from home or right from the kettle.
“Basically there are three options, the good old fashioned internet website you can access from a phone, tablet or computer at home, and that one is kettlepay.salvationarmy.usa.org. It is the same technology that the newer technology takes you to as well.”
Major Pinkston says that there are easy ways to donate onsite from any kettle as well.
“Now with the newer technology we have two different options. On the left hand side of our sign holders, you will find a QR code. It’s just a little square that looks like a bunch of funny designs. People can take their smartphone and point their camera at it, and it will automatically read it and then ask the user if they want to open their web browser, they say yes and then it will take you to the Kettle Pay home screen.
It gives, I think four different options where you can give $5.00, $10.00, $25.00 or there is a custom amount option where you can enter any amount that you would like to. If you have Google Pay or Apple Pay you can pay directly, otherwise it will give you the option of entering a credit card number so you can give that way as well.”
Although the QR code technology has been around for a while now, this is the first time they have been able to use it in this capacity.
Major Pinkston says that the kettle signs have ability for the latest smartphone electronic payment technology as well.
“The second thing is called Near Frequency Communication or N.F.C. For short, some people call it bump technology. On the right hand side of the sign holders on our kettle stands, there’s a little symbol which to me looks like a little wireless symbol turned on it’s side, or a speaker volume sign. Right behind that is a little sensor, and with the newer model phones, I think it has to be newer technology, you just put your phone up against it and it will read it and automatically send you to the website where you can follow the same procedure.”
Major Pinkston says that the roll out for these new donation options came fairly recently, so although there may not be directions on how to use these options on the kettles just yet, shoppers can take advantage of them now, and signage on how to use these options will be posted as each kettle stop as soon as possible.
As of Wednesday evening, Kettle Campaign donations totaled $15,250.00. Major Pinkston says that those numbers are down somewhat compared to last year, but a majority of that difference can be attributed to the loss of the kettle stop at ShopKo which closed earlier this year.
Major Pinkson said that he has compared numbers over these first three weeks of the campaign with average totals from ShopKo last year, and the difference comes out to about the same rate of donation as this year.
Major Pinkston also said they are still in need of bell ringers for this season and that process is now being completed electronically as well.
“they can go to registertoring.org and it is pretty easy to sign up, just open an account, and the only thing you need to set up an account is an email address. From there you can actually go in and see what is available and you can sign yourself up.
We have heard that it is pretty easy to use, but for those who are not real computer literate we can help, don’t let that be a hindrance, just give us a call here in the office at 217-245-7124, and Monica will be glad to work through that with you or do that for you”
Major Pinkston said they still have about 575 hours they need to fill between now and the end of the season. To sign up, go to registertoring.org