So Salvation Army donations for 2018 are down, at least in Florida. In Manatee County, for example, donations are down $30,000 so far this year. The lower contributions mean that services cannot be provided to their fullest extent, and shelters may run out of available beds.
What’s driving this drop? I believe part of the problem is that most people I know do not carry cash anymore. Debit cards have eliminated the need for a trip to the ATM for purchases. I first observed this last year. I would look in my wallet to make a donation at one of the Salvation Army kettles only to find some loose change and a bit of lint. Now I recognize that all of that change does add up, but many people merely walked past exuding an “I don’t carry cash” attitude.
Fast forward to this year. My husband and I were walking toward our local market (you know Publix well if you are a fellow Floridian). I said to him, “I’ve got to get some cash,” as I spied the familiar red bucket and jovial bell ringer.
“When what to my wandering eye should appear…”, but a credit/debit card machine to accept my funds. It was simple enough; A single swipe resulted in a $3 donation. Works for me…Unfortunately, I just discovered that my swipe did not yield $3 for the Salvation Army. Those credit/debit machines have a fee attached, so that eats into the donation bottom line.
Another challenge facing the Salvation Army during this giving season is a decrease in volunteers to man the red kettles. Why? I have no idea, and I was unable to find an answer through my research. Maybe I need to step up and volunteer. It would be interesting to witness what drives people to reach in their wallet whether for cash or their debit card.
Keep a sharp eye for the rest of the month…You just may see me ringing the familiar bell. But whether you see me or not, please donate. Merry Christmas!
(Copyright 2018 Susie Krivacic)