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Austin Mahone to Headline Fourth Annual Rock the Red Kettle Concert Benefiting The Salvation Army!

Ready for it….
Austin Mahone
We are thrilled to announce that The Salvation Army will host the fourth annual Rock the Red Kettle Concert at Universal City Walk’s “5 Towers” concert venue in Los Angeles on December 7, with performances by musical artists Austin Mahone, Kelly Rowland, Bean, and Coco Jones!

Hosted and produced by Ned Specktor of Specktor Media, the free show helps raise awareness of The Salvation Army’s 123rd annual Red Kettle Campaign, the oldest charitable fundraiser of its kind in the United States. Money raised during the campaign helps the Army serve 30 million of America’s most vulnerable through an array of programs including food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and toys for children.

This year, the free concert will be streamed live on The Salvation Army’s Tumblr page at SalvationArmyUSA.tumblr.com, so you don’t have to miss out if you’re not in the area!

Similar to years past, fans can host their own Online Red Kettles by visiting OnlineRedKettle.org. But this year, the Army is saying thanks in a big way by launching the Rock the Online Red Kettle Team sweepstakes and enlisting the help of the artists to raise funds for a chance to hang out with them in person or via a Google Hangout.

By joining the Online Red Kettle Teams of Mahone, Jones or Bean, three lucky fans will win the chance to fly to Los Angeles with a guest to attend the concert and meet the performers. Eight more participants will win the opportunity to virtually connect with the artists through a Google Hangout before the show.

You can support the Red Kettle Campaign through the artist of your choosing by clicking on the names below: Austin Mahone: www.OnlineRedKettle.org/AustinMahone Coco Jones: www.OnlineRedKettle.org/CocoJones Bean: www.OnlineRedKettle.org/NoelleBean

In addition to giving online or to the more than 25,000 bell ringers found on street corners and retail entrances across the country, supporters can donate through the Army’s text-to-give program. By texting the word “KETTLE” to 80888, donors can send $10 to the Red Kettle Campaign through December 24.

Posted by Megan on Thursday, November 14, 2013 ·

Coming Soon: “The Christmas Candle” Movie Inspires Service & Goodness

There’s no denying that Christmas is fast approaching; reindeer and pumpkins have been competing for department store shelf space since August. With unrealistic to-dos of spending, buying gifts, baking, attending parties, throwing parties, the “spirit of giving” soon becomes the “spirit of getting it over with”.

Anyone needing a reminder of what makes Christmas truly special should watch The Christmas Candle, a holiday motion picture from EchoLight Studios based on the book by international bestselling author, Max Lucado.

Premiering in theaters nationwide November 22, the film tells of how an angel, every 25 years, visits a 19th century English village called Gladbury and touches a single candle. Whoever lights that candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve.
But when David Richmond (Hans Matheson), a progressive young minister, arrives in Gladbury, the villagers discover a new formula for miracles: good deeds and acts of kindness. At the beginning of the film, David’s character is seen serving food alongside officers of The Salvation Army, a nice shout-out to the organization’s services for the downtrodden which began in London in 1865.

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The Salvation Army took part in one of the red carpet premieres in Dallas, TX October 21. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/salarmydfw

When the candle eventually goes missing, the miraculous and the human collide in the most astonishing and heartwarming Christmas the village has ever seen.

The Christmas Candle inspires renewed hope in the miracle of Christmas, and reminds us of the wonder and celebration of the season that is often lost in the yearly hustle and bustle.

Check it out for yourself in select theaters November 22, and visit https://www.facebook.com/TheChristmasCandle to learn more. You can also join in the conversation with #ChristmasCandleMovie on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted by Megan on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 ·

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How to Choose the Right Organization for Your Charitable Donation

David Bakke is an author and personal finance enthusiast residing in Atlanta. He shares his best tips for money management and giving back to the community on the blog, Money Crashers.

As of 2011, there were well over one million tax exempt charitable organizations operating in the U.S. The prospect of combing through that list to find the one charity that best sums up your beliefs – and where your money can do the most good – is a daunting task. It’s important to conduct the appropriate research to ensure your charitable dollars are going to the right place, but there are easier ways to find the right match than looking for that needle in a haystack. If you’re currently struggling to find the proper charity for your dollars, here are five things to consider:

1. Use Reputable Online Resources
When conducting research online, always stick with unbiased and reputable websites. If you want to learn more about a specific organization, that organization’s website may not be the best place to get it, as it’s more than likely going to present only positive information.

In addition to finding unbiased information, another challenge is finding accurate information. Many of the websites that aggregate lists and manage databases may be out-of-date or just plain sloppy. Instead, research your favored charitable organizations at the Better Business Bureau’s website or at the website CharityNavigator. Both are great resources for finding the right organization for you.

2. Make Sure the Organization is IRS-Approved
When you give money to a charitable organization, you do it to help people in need. However, you don’t want to get left out in the cold when tax time rolls around. Make sure the charity you donate to is approved by the IRS as tax-deductible. You can obtain a full list of all approved organizations from the IRS website.

3. Investigate Administrative Costs
Another thing to look at when choosing the right charity is its administrative budget. According to the American Institute of Philanthropy, administrative costs should be 40% or less to ensure a healthy charity, but you can certainly find lower than that. For example, according to the BBB, the administrative costs of The Salvation Army as a percentage of total revenue in 2010 were just slightly over 10%.

4. Contact the Organization
It’s perfectly acceptable to contact the organization in person to find out more about where your dollars are actually going. You can learn the details of how funds are dispersed, the specifics of who is helped and in what time frame, and you can also try to suss out if the organization is actually a charity or more of an advocacy group. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with donating to an advocacy group, but if the organization in question is one, your money may not go directly to those in need.

5. Review the Privacy Policy
Be sure to review the privacy policy of any charitable organization that makes your shortlist. If they sell or provide your personal information to third-party organizations, and that’s a problem for you, stay away. Also see if they have a general policy of releasing donation information to the public, and make sure that’s something you’re comfortable with before signing that check.

Final Thoughts
Once you’ve decided on an organization, remember to follow the letter of the law regarding your tax deductions for charitable donations. Anything over $250 requires a receipt, and make sure your documentation is bullet-proof. If your donation is non-cash, such as old household items or clothes, clearly list every item in detail and be sure to value them accurately. For a complete list of the rules and regulations concerning charitable contributions, check out the IRS Publication 526. Donating is a great way to both give back to the community and lessen your tax burden, but only if you do it by the rules.

The Salvation Army is a responsible steward of generosity in your community. According to The New York Times, the organization is “widely considered exemplary among nonprofits in handling cash collections.” You can be sure that 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends goes directly to support community service programs – far exceeding the Better Business Bureau’s guideline of 65 percent. Consider choosing The Salvation Army for your next charitable donation, especially as Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) crews of The Salvation Army continue to meet the needs of natural disaster survivors from coast to coast. Visit https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/ to make a donation online. You can also call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to make a donation over the phone or text “STORM” to 80888 to make a quick $10 donation via your mobile phone.

How do you choose where to make your charitable donations?

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Papa John’s Pizza Delivers $50,000 Donation to Salvation Army

Town Hall meeting at Papa John’s, Monday, May 20, 2013 in The Hub on the corporate campus in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by Brian Bohannon)

Our friends at Papa John’s Pizza handed over a $50,000 check donation to The Salvation Army during a presentation at the company’s Louisville, KY headquarters on Monday, the result of both a highly successful social media campaign and the dedication of partners in “Doing the Most Good”.

The February social media campaign asked Facebook and Twitter users to ‘like’, ‘share’, and comment on their pages to raise awareness of America’s hunger problem, with every good word, re-tweet and thumbs up garnering a $1 donation for The Salvation Army’s feeding programs. Thanks to the power of social media, $50,000 was raised in one day by compassionate supporters and pizza lovers alike.

Major Ron Busroe, The Salvation Army’s National Community Relations and Development Secretary, and Papa John Schnatter, Founder of Papa John’s .

The Salvation Army serves approximately 60 million meals to Americans each year because of supporters like Papa John’s Pizza. We are beyond humbled by the company’s extreme generosity and commitment to feeding Americans in need.

Please help us thank Papa John’s Pizza and Papa John himself on Facebook or on Twitter using #PapaJohnCares.