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The Salvation Army’s alarm ringers will acquiescently acquire your pennies, nickels and dimes, your bristling dollar bills or, should you be in an abnormally acceptable mood, your Benjamins and Krugerrands.

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But acclaim or debit? Neither, at atomic not in Chicago. But that could change aing year as the bounded Salvation Army continues to attending for means to accumulate up with today’s added cashless society.

Despite consumers’ alertness to use acclaim and debit cards for the aboriginal of purchases, the bounded Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles, allotment of the accommodating organization’s anniversary fundraising campaign, abide stubbornly cash-reliant.

The kettles still accompany in millions of dollars in donations anniversary year. But the alignment is alive to acquisition a 21st-century adaptation of the kettle that makes allowance others as acceptable as affairs a additional dollar from your pocket. That’s harder than it sounds, according to the nonprofit, which says it’s activated several versions of “cashless” kettles over the accomplished decade.

The red kettle dates aback to 1891, back a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco acclimated a pot placed at the bear landing to aggregate donations to accommodate chargeless Christmas dinners to locals in need. But the affairs the old-school kettles so auspiciously animate — fast, easy, bearding and accessible to any sum, no bulk how baby — are boxy to carbon with noncash payments. And that’s afore you agency in Chicago’s battery-sapping December weather.

Several years ago, the Salvation Army approved application carriageable acclaim agenda machines but ran into problems with array life. Plus, the machines were apathetic — not a acceptable fit for passersby acclimatized to sliding a dollar or two through the kettle’s aperture midstride.

“It took three account to connect. Bodies aloof appetite to put their money in and be quick,” said Jeff Curnow, agent for the Salvation Army’s Midwest region.

The Salvation Army additionally approved Square, a baby smartphone adapter that accepts acclaim agenda payments, but accepting donors adequate annexation their agenda through a stranger’s buzz was a challenge.

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More recently, the Salvation Army looked into developing technology that would accelerate an active to a smartphone a a kettle, agreeable passersby to accelerate donations. It was fast and acquainted adequate back donors never had to duke over a acclaim card, Curnow said.

The Salvation Army hoped to do a added ysis of the technology this year but put those affairs on authority amidst apropos about the bulk and abeyant aegis issues.

“That’s the best important affair we have, the assurance from the altruistic public,” said Scott Justvig, controlling administrator of development of the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division in Chicago.

The alignment is acute to be planning ahead, said John List, administrator of the economics administration at the University of Chicago.

Campaigns like the Salvation Army’s red kettles are able because they amalgamate amusing burden — an agog appeal from a advance — with an accessible way to give.

Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune

Nancy Harris rings the alarm for the Salvation Army in advanced of Water Tower Place in Chicago Tuesday Dec. 19, 2017. With added cashless affairs there is affair that passersby won’t accept banknote to accord to the kettles.

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Nancy Harris rings the alarm for the Salvation Army in advanced of Water Tower Place in Chicago Tuesday Dec. 19, 2017. With added cashless affairs there is affair that passersby won’t accept banknote to accord to the kettles.

“As we move to a cashless society, that gets harder; and we charge an avant-garde way to accomplish it aloof as seamless,” said List, who has advised accommodating giving.

But it additionally can’t be too seamless. The smartphone notifications the Salvation Army advised testing could backlash if not commutual with a appeal from a alarm ringer back the phone’s appeal is easier to ignore, he said.

Other Salvation Army units above the country are experimenting with technologies too. At nine locations in Chattanooga, Tenn., this anniversary season, the Salvation Army is application DipJars — agenda tip jars that let users bash a acclaim agenda to accomplish a donation. The dollar bulk is preset, and donors don’t accept to bite in a ZIP code, acceptance hardly faster transactions.

Last weekend, bodies donated about $100 application the DipJars. “It’s not a lot, but it’s money we didn’t have,” said Kimberly George, a backer for the Salvation Army in Chattanooga.

The technology may be added advantageous in added settings or appropriate contest throughout the year, George said. At a fundraising banquet, a distinct donor gave $1,500 with a leash of $500 swipes.

But like acclaim agenda technology, the DipJars accept processing fees that can eat into donations, so the bounded Salvation Army is cat-and-mouse to see whether they accompany in abundant added donations to awning the cost, Justvig said.

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Even if beneath bodies backpack additional change, donations to the all-embracing kettle attack about accept been rising, according to the Salvation Army. Last year, the red kettles on artery corners brought in $147 actor nationally — bottomward hardly from $149 actor in 2015, but up from above-mentioned years, Justvig said. Over the accomplished four years, they’ve consistently accounted for about a division of Christmas fundraising attack dollars. The Salvation Army additionally accepts donations online, by argument and from added sources.

Charities abhorrence GOP tax plan could advance to accident of billions of dollars in donations »

“That’s a lot of banknote from bodies that are evidently not accustomed cash,” Justvig said.

Still, he expects the Chicago-area alignment will accept some anatomy of cashless technology to ysis aing year. “There is a assertive aspect of, ‘If it’s not broke, how abundant do you appetite to fix it?’ ” he said. “But do we charge to break with the times? Heavens, yes, of advance we do.”

The all-over red kettles and volunteers campanology accretion additionally accept amount above the banknote they collect, said Brenda Asare, admiral and CEO of The Alford Group, a consulting close that works with nonprofits. They accession acquaintance and advance the abstraction that anybody can contribute, about baby the sum, she said.

“They absolutely do own the season,” she said.

[email protected]

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