Salvation Army Donation Etiquette

Jingle, Jangle, Jingle for the po’
And once you get your welfare check
Yo kiss my mistletoe
Ho Ho Ho
Ho Ho Ho

-Xmas Rap, by Treacherous Three

The Holidays are a time for giving. I truly believe this. Help those in need to make their holiday season a little better. I hope we can all agree on this.

There are times when you may be thinking, “Enough is too much” (thanks to Father Owl from the I Love to Singa cartoon for that phrase), as there are simply more needy charitable organizations than paper bills in your wallet.

Today’s post will try to help save some sanity when it comes to donating for one very noticeable holiday charitable organization, the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army volunteers and their recognizable red kettles stand outside retail stores during November and December ringing bells, sometimes playing recorded carols on an outdated and shoddy radio, to passerbys to spur up donations. These red kettles seem to be at multiple stores in your town and when you’re running numerous holiday errands they just seem to be everywhere.

On your first approach seeing the Salvation Army kettle you hand a dollar or some loose change, but by the 186th time seeing the bell ringer and having no change in your pocket your entry/exit strategy does change.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the red kettle blues that you may experience this holiday season.

I’ve Got a Little Change in My Pocket Going Jingle Lingle Ling
Feeling generous? Use these tips to maximize your donation appeal.

Generous Jackson– if by chance you have a $20 note burning a hole in your pocket, wait until one or two days before Christmas to donate. This will give you full holiday happiness to both you and the volunteer. (Called the Generous Jackson since the $20 features President Jackson on the front of the bill.)

Tip: Act like George Costanza and make sure that the volunteer clearly sees that you are donating large to the cause. Anything less may leave you with a big ‘ole cherry pit in your stomach.

High Five – identify how many $5 that you are willing to cough up by the first week of December, then use this formula: one five for every week before Christmas. So for example, you feel like donating $15 (that would be 3 five dollar bills), you would begin to donate one $5 bill starting the week of December 8th.

Tip: it is advisable to avoid the $5 strategy. Either go large with the $20 donation or the several singe technique.

Several Singles – never throw a wad of singles into the kettle, instead maximize their length by donating one single at a time. This will ensure maximum happiness as you will be donating as long as the singles allow.

Tip: to avoid bankruptcy be sure to carry less than $10 in singles. If you have over $50 in singles, 1) you are crazy and 2) it becomes way to easy to donate your life savings.

Loosey Goosey Change – throw your change into the kettle liberally.

Tip: be sure to make a wish as if you were throwing pennies into a wishing well. Santa is always watching and listening and you may just end up with the giant red bow wrapped around a Lexus come the morn of December 25th.

Empty Pockets
If you have no money and you don’t want to have that awkward moment when you feel the Salvation Army volunteer judging you for not donating use these tips to feel guilt free.

Store with only one door in and one door out – this is the most dreaded scenario, but no worries, remain calm and remember your lesson young Padawan.

  • Entering: simply accelerate your walking pace to something short of a light jog, eyes on the ground to avoid all eye contact.
  • Exiting: maintain the same fast pace but this time, place your line of sight in between the volunteer’s eyes and the ground and above the sound of a soft whisper wish the volunteer a Happy Holiday.

Tip: don’t ever think that throwing coupons or used candy wrappers in the kettle is acceptable.

Store with two separate entryways – scope out which door the volunteer is working and simply use the other door. No need to increase your pace or have a hanging head. Do your business as usual.

Tip: be sure to glance at the other entry way and judge those that you notice are not donating to the red kettle.
So there you have it, a quick holiday donation guide to help you avoid bankruptcy this season!

Need more Holiday Etiquette? Check out this post on Christmas Card Etiquette.


2 thoughts on “Salvation Army Donation Etiquette

  1. Pingback: The little things…. | Deidre Swain The Late In Life Socialite...

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