Which, by the way, is a name I thought most people were familiar with, but as of late I’ve met a number of people who didn’t know it referred to the Salvation Army.
While at the mall this past weekend we had the pleasure of hearing the Salvation Army brass band playing Christmas carols in support of their annual fundraising campaign, something I think most people are quite familiar with.
After we stopped snickering about the classic Mr. Bean Christmas episode in which the title character takes control of a Salvation Army band in the U.K., we decided that the organization runs a pretty unique campaign.
Unlike many in the “charity sector”, the Salvation Army doesn’t seem to lean quite so heavily on the guilt factor - that is, guilting people into giving. Instead, it has positioned itself as a tradition part of the Christmas season. It gives back to the community not just through the programs it supports but through the very act of playing music in public. How many other charities are out on the street corner doing anything other than just asking for donations?
Were they to stop performing, supporters and non-supporters alike would miss the band, which speaks to the power of the Salvation Army’s brand presence in society-at-large.
While donations are surely down this year (as they are just about everywhere), I think the Sally Ann probably does a great deal better than others in its sector and if so, owes a lot to its popular public face during the holidays. Though like most charities it could do better to tell its stories to the masses, I remain impressed with the organization’s image.