The Salvation Army provides an incredible array of services to people in need. From Christmas assistance to addiction recovery, from shelter to summer camp … from veterans services to the spiritual support where The Salvation Army excels.
From a fundraising perspective, however, one service The Salvation Army provides stands front and center: feeding people who are hungry. Time and time again, feeding offers produce some of the strongest results in terms of donor response. This is true in “normal” times as well as in the extraordinary times we’re currently experiencing.
The need for food is so basic and compelling. It’s something donors can truly understand. Even without knowing the painful hunger that arises from poverty or food insecurity, everyone has been hungry at one time or another.
So right off the bat, programs that put the focus on food — pantries, food vouchers, meals programs — can become powerful incentives for donors to give.
But there are other ways to leverage the need for food to increase donor response.
One way is to inform donors about programs where food plays a crucial role, even where it’s not the focus. Think after-school and other youth programs, senior services, or homeless outreach initiatives. Fundraisers will do well to make sure donors understand that these services are really feeding programs, too (and to understand that a core belief of The Salvation Army is that people’s physical needs must be met before their spiritual needs are addressed).
It’s true that not every Corps offers food directly. But food is always part of the equation, even when it’s not visible. When a family is offered Christmas gifts, rent or utility assistance, school supplies, or any other non-food help, it still frees up money they can then spend on food. It’s very compelling — and entirely true — to say that by supporting these services, the donor is helping parents put food on the table for their children.
Food is a basic human need — and supporting The Salvation Army is one of the best ways donors can help their neighbors meet this need. This has been true for generations, and it always makes sense to ensure donors remember it.
Just some food for thought.
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