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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 ·

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Study reveals Millennials are Charitable, Influential, & Eager to Connect Over a Cause

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Millennials – all 80 million of us – get a bad rap.

If you’re currently between the ages of 18-34, you’re a part of ‘Generation ME’ and collectively called lazy, narcissistic, and impatient. But other characteristics contradict these accusations to some degree: we’re also said to be open-minded, more supportive of equal rights, confident, upbeat, self-expressive, receptive to new ideas, and best of all – giving.

A study called The Millennial Impact reveals the “Me Generation” is actually extremely philanthropic. And this doesn’t include the “slacktivism” that exists on Facebook. But let’s be honest – it felt darn good to Like that dog photo and donate someone else’s money to rescue efforts.

Rather, we look outward rather than inward, relying on the influence of our peers when it comes to taking action. And once we’re inspired, the study reveals that we’ll go to great lengths to get family, friends and loved ones involved in our causes. Lazy? Selfish? Hardly!

In fact, millennials are compassionate and eager to commit their time, money and skills toward causes and organizations. The study revealed that 75% of millennials donated to charitable causes last year, while 63% gave time to volunteer. While millennials are more likely to donate in smaller amounts across several organizations, they are also apt to fundraise on behalf of nonprofits by soliciting support from friends and family. And when organizations offer volunteer opportunities with limited barriers to entry (remember, we’re impatient), millennials are most likely to give back through events or by freely offering their knowledge and expertise to their charity of choice.

Take The Salvation Army Twin Cities MOST Amazing Race for example, a fundraiser based off of the popular CBS show “Amazing Race,” where teams of two people run around the city making pit stops to complete various challenges. The goal of the race is to raise awareness and funds for The Salvation Army, and commitment and fundraising are prerequisites for competing.

In the end, 30 teams raised $72,921 for food and shelter programs of The Salvation Army through activities such as planking, Bollywood dancing, and plunging off a 25-foot-high platform. And you can be darn sure these events were well documented on participants’ Facebook and Instagram pages.

You often hear that good deeds are rooted in selfishness, and there may be a bit of truth to that, but that’s because giving back feels really, really good. And if you can brag about your good work on Instagram, filter and all, and maybe even inspire your friends to do the same, then what’s the problem?

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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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U.S. Army Soldier Serves Oklahoma Survivors Alongside Salvation Army

Posted by Megan on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 · Leave a Comment 

The following was contributed by Krachel Greenwood, E-Communications Manager for The Salvation Army Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Divisional Headquarters. Krachel has been serving with The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams on the ground in Oklahoma since the disaster struck. 

From the client side of the desk, Gregory Von-Dollen is just another smiling face sitting at the Multi-Agency Resource Center located at Westmoore High School in Moore, Oklahoma.

Von-Dollen, an Oklahoma native, was out of state when tornadoes touched down in May. But he knew he had to help.

“The whole purpose was for me to come out and help my community. Since being wounded it has become my sense of duty to return that service the community has given me,” Von-Dollen explains.

In October of 2009 Von-Dollen joined the United States Army. Thirteen months later he was involved in a motorcycle accident which severely injured his left leg. He broke his hip, received 2-3 fractions in his femur and 25+ breaks in his tibia. He underwent two years of limb salvage, but in June of 2012 an amputation was performed, due to building blood clots in his leg.

Von-Dollen prevailed. He has stayed active duty with the United States Army and is currently receiving treatment at WTB (Warrior Transition Battallion), Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Specialist Von-Dollen knows what it means to be Army Strong; he also knows what it means to be Oklahoma Strong.

“People don’t understand the resiliency Oklahoma has – don’t seem to understand the spirit people here have,” he explains.

When Von-Dollen’s leg was amputated he was pushed to get back in the saddle.

“I’ve been skydiving, rock climbing, fishing, bowling, SCUBA diving and gone on multiple hunting trips,” he says. He’s also taken up hand cycling – and logged his longest ride at 25 miles.

For those stopping by Spc. Von-Dollen’s spot at The Salvation Army’s table, a genuine smile is a welcomed one.

“A lot of people are still at the point of not wanting to share. One woman wasn’t home but her son was. He dove into a small closet and after the tornado passed by a neighbor stopped by and heard him screaming. The neighbor broke through the sheetrock and helped him out,” he says.

Von-Dollen plans to volunteer with The Salvation Army for four days. He looks forward to finishing his leave by spending time with family before returning to Texas.