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Part of overcoming “the impossible” is being willing to explore and discover what is possible. To innovate. To approach problems from a different angle and solve them with new thinking.
For years, The Salvation Army has enlisted advertising to appeal to donors. And the donors have given generously, enabling us to serve those in need. But last year, in a few select markets, we implemented a program to appeal to a different audience.
Through an innovative street campaign, rather than communicating with the usual donors, we reached out directly to those in need. The hungry. The cold. The homeless. The victims of trafficking. The addicted. And to speak to them in their moments of need, we connected with them through some of the means they use to survive.
By posting messages on park benches and public buses, where those with no home often try to sleep, we invited them to a warm place of rest at our shelters. By putting maps on public trash cans where hungry families search for food, we offered directions to our free feeding locations. By attaching fliers and phone numbers to telephone poles and restroom stall doors, we secretly reached women who were trapped in human trafficking and had few safe places to seek help. And by displaying messages of hope outside liquor stores and known drug centers, we offered a new beginning to those enslaved by addiction.
The results were profound. In Las Vegas, average daily calls for help were up 174 percent, and in Denver, November calls for help were up 37 percent. In Chicago, media coverage from every major TV and print outlet in the city helped us speak indirectly to donors, who saw The Salvation Army truly reaching out and helping those in need.