21st Century giving: Salvation Army testing Apple and Google Pay at Seattle red kettles

SEATTLE -- The Salvation Army is trying a 21st Century idea to increase donations to their iconic red kettles: select cities, including Seattle, are accepting Apple Pay and Google Pay donations at red kettle sites. 

New York City, Kansas City, and Dallas are also participating in the nationwide launch. Cities were selected by the national office, based on community demographics including technology users and charitable predisposition.

The Salvation Army hosts about 200 red kettles throughout the greater Seattle (King County) area during the holiday season.

“It’s a simple formula,” explained Lt. Colonel Bill Dickinson, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in the Northwest. “The more money we raise during the holiday season, the more neighbors we can help now and next year.”

Donations collected will be used to help families in King County – providing Christmas assistance this year, and basic needs of food and shelter in the new year.

Initial response to the Easy Pay option is good, organizers say, but amounts to only a small percentage of the overall donations raised in the red kettles thus far. Donations at the red kettles typically increase as Christmas approaches, so increased Apple Pay / Google Pay donations are expected.

The Salvation Army receives about 60% of total annual donations during November and December.