Salvation Army fundraises by enticing media attention

Since 1881, the Salvation Army (TSA) has sought to use its red kettles to attract donations for those in need. The Red Kettle campaign continues its tradition, with its presence in areas that are heavily trafficked, while also turning to modern innovations, including media promotions as well as online initiatives.

Since 1881, the Salvation Army (TSA) has sought to use its red kettles to attract donations for those in need. The Red Kettle campaign continues its tradition, with its presence in areas that are heavily trafficked, while also turning to modern innovations, including media promotions as well as online initiatives.

The Eastern Michigan Division branch faced a difficult year, but called on Franco Public Relations to assist it in exceeding its fundraising goals from the year before.

Strategy
"We started the season and knew it was going to be a tough year," says John Hale, TSA-Eastern Michigan Division's interim director of development. "So, we focused on showing need and asking for support."

TSA cited various factors, such as the state's weak economy, 70% increase of needed services over the past few years, and 292% increase for suburban services in the past year, while pitching to media.

Tactics
TSA started off the first few weeks 10% short, so Franco PR communicated this shortage to media partners. The PR team created partnerships with the Detroit Free Press, broadcast station WJBK-FOX 2, and radio stations WWJ-AM and WMGC-FM. Michelle Zdrodowski, SVP of Franco PR, notes, "There was a real effort to reach out to everyone, because everyone could be one paycheck away from disaster."

The team also partnered with WWJ Newsradio 950 for its second annual "Red Kettle Day" and with WXYZ-TV for a first-ever "TSA Day."

Results
The 311 media spots helped TSA raise $8,033,222, with 86 cents on the dollar going to programming. "The relationship between [TSA] and our media partners [was] crucial to our organization exceeding our fundraising goals," says Michelle St-Pierre, TSA's Director of Integrated Marketing.

Future
Planning has begun for the upcoming year.

PR team: The Salvation Army- Eastern Michigan Division and Franco Public Relations (Detroit)

Campaign: The Red Kettle Campaign

Duration: November, 16 2007-January, 31 2008

Budget: $50,000 for PR

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