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U.S. Bank, Salvation Army step up fundraising efforts with iOS app

U.S. Bank has partnered with the Salvation Army to help fill volunteer spots for the nonprofit’s Red Kettle fundraising program.

U.S. Bank is working with the Salvation Army Northern Division that operates communities in Minnesota and North Dakota on this initiative. The Bell Ringer TC app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.

“Given the rising use of mobile technology, nonprofits are anxious to connect with would-be donors, volunteers and supporters via mobile,” said Mac McCullough, executive vice president of the enterprise revenue office at U.S. Bank, Minneapolis.

“The app U.S. Bank designed for the Salvation Army does just that – it gives users, customers and supporters a fast, easy way to sign up to volunteer with The Salvation Army as well as a quick way to learn more about the organization,” he said.

Mobile sign-ups
The app’s main purpose is to help fill 120,000 volunteer positions at 400 Salvation Army kettles across the Twin Cities area in Minnesota for the holidays.

Via the app, consumers can learn about the volunteer process with the Salvation Army with videos, articles and pictures. Additionally, a click-to-call button lets consumers contact the Salvation Army Northern Division directly.

To volunteer, users must fill out a form with their name, phone number and email to be contacted directly by the nonprofit organization.

The app also updates in real-time to show users the total amount earned from the Salvation Army’s kettles in the area.

To help promote the app, U.S. Bank will donate $1 to the Salvation for each download up to $1,000.

The company also plans to roll out an update before Thanksgiving to let consumers donate from the app.

Next year, U.S. Bank is looking to roll out the app into other markets where the financial institution has a strong footprint.

The homepage of the app

Mobilized donations
The Salvation Army has been active in mobilizing its holiday fundraising in the past few years.

Last year, the organization partnered with mobile payment reader Square to get consumers to donate larger sums of money via their handsets. More than 800,000 of Square’s credit card readers were rolled out across the country (see story).

Additionally, the Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army used SMS last year to drive donations. (see story).

With consumers relying on their mobile devices for access to everyday tasks, using an app to increase volunteer sign-ups is a great way for the Salvation Army to build awareness around its widely recognized Red Kettle holiday fundraising program.

“In both the for-profit and nonprofit world, engaging younger users, customers and supporters is critical,” Mr. McCullough said.

“Mobile is the way of the future and a great way to engage younger users who may be otherwise difficult to reach,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York