The Salvation Army of the Quad-Cities fell about $172,500 short of its 2017 Red Kettle Campaign goal, but has ideas on how to do better next year, Bill Horrell, development director for the Quad-Cities said Friday.
The Army ended up raising $652,500 of its $825,000 goal through the kettles as well as direct-mail solicitations and year-end contributions, he said.
Ideas for doing better next year include recruiting more volunteer bell ringers by having a big recruitment kickoff involving churches, service clubs and individuals, and having it early — on Sept. 6, Horrell said.
"We need to let people know earlier," he said.
The Army relies on about half volunteer bell-ringers, with the rest paid, he said, explaining that Mondays through Fridays are paid, as are some Saturdays.
The Army also hopes to get Northpark and Southpark malls back, two locations that account for four kettles, that did not participate this year, he said. A lost location the Army already knows about is the Moline Sam's Club, which has closed.
Overall, the Army had 38 kettle locations in 2017.
As for why donations were down this year, Horrell said there were a variety of reasons. In addition to NorthPark and SouthPark not participating, there was "donor fatigue" after generous contributions for hurricane relief. Also, the Army was not able to collect on Christmas Eve — typically a big-donor day — because it fell on a Sunday and the Army does not collect on Sundays, he said.
The Army gets about 60 percent of its operating budget from the kettle campaign, providing housing, daily meals, rental assistance, clothing and youth programs in the Quad-Cities, as well as specific assistance of food and toys at Christmas.
Over the past nine years, the Army met or exceeded its goal five times.