The Salvation Army’s Indiana Division is hoping a late push will help the not-for-profit reach a $3.2 million fundraising goal—the largest in the history of its annual Tree of Lights campaign.
As of Wednesday, the Salvation Army had reached just 51 percent of its target, down from 60 percent at the same time last year.
Hoosiers can give at the organization’s red kettles, which typically are manned by bell ringers through Christmas Eve. But mailed checks and online donations will be accepted through Jan. 31, when the annual fundraiser officially ends.
The Salvation Army increased its goal to $3.2 million this year from $2.9 million last year—although it actually raised $3.1 million in 2010—based on a greater demand for services.
Even before the Tree of Lights campaign began on Nov. 17, the charity was facing a $300,000 fundraising deficit. Its fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
“We just think people who would normally give on a monthly basis may not have had the money to do that this year,” spokesman Mike Rowland said. “They’re probably still giving, but not at the capacity they have in the past.”
The Salvation Army’s experience so far this year seems to be bucking a national trend of increased giving. Many charities recently told The Chronicle of Philanthropy that they had already raised more money than they did last year.
Fifty-four percent said they raised more money in November and the first part of December than they had at the same time in 2010. And one in five of the 152 charities in the survey said contributions had outpaced last year’s donations by at least 20 percent.
Nearly six out of 10 organizations predicted they would close the year with an overall gain in donations, while 28 percent said donations would drop.
Groups that reported increases attributed them not just to the recovering economy but also to creative twists in online appeals and efforts to show their impact more clearly to donors, The Chronicle of Philanthropy said.
The local Salvation Army still is confident it can reach its goal, or at least come close.
“People sometimes will make year-end gifts and literally send them to us on Dec. 31,” Rowland said.