Red Kettles raise record $130 million

Although the economic storm gathered force during 2008, the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign surged ahead, bringing in a record $130 million.

That represents a 10 percent increase over 2007, the largest year-over-year increase in over a decade.

Several factors contributed to the strong showing, including the “outstanding show of generosity” from Americans, Israel L. Gaither, national commander of the Salvation Army, says in a statement.

Last year, the charity also tested new high-tech giving options, including “cashless kettles” that allowed donors to give through credit or debit cards, and a text-message service that allowed cell users to donate using their cell-phone bills.

And use of social-networking sites helped boost Internet fundraising by 28 percent last year.

Kettles at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club outlets raised a total of $34 million, more than a quarter of the total raised, and the Salvation Army received a $1.25 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation that funded a pre-campaign special day of giving.

“The Red Kettle campaign is stronger than ever as it must be during these challenging times,” Gaither says.

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