© Major Robert MacKenzie, The Salvation Army Canada. Retrieved from Salvation Army Canada on September 30, 2016.
When William Booth founded The Salvation Army back in 1882, he based much of its mission on the concept of “adapting to attract.” Employees of the Ontario Central East Division of The Salvation Army have recognized that utilizing the social media communication methods of today is in keeping with that concept, which is one of the reasons they are looking to Facebook Groups to help employees plan their 2016 Christmas Kettle Campaign.
The annual fundraiser – one of the most-recognized non-profit campaigns in the country – is now in its 110th year in Canada according to the History of The Salvation Army Kettle. Since June, a Kettle Campaign Task Force has been experimenting with Facebook Groups to engage its employees in planning. Task Force members include employees representing the ministry units (churches and social services locations) and departments of the Ontario Central East Divisional Headquarters. The Task Force mandate states they exist to, “work through the challenges facing the Kettle Campaign and develop strategies to meet the needs of the ministry units so they can confidently prepare to execute their neighborhood campaigns.” The Task Force has created a private Facebook Group for Christmas Kettle Coordinators across the Division in an effort to promote internal information-sharing and collaboration.
“The hope is employees will utilize the Facebook Group for real-time engagement and as an expedited means to address issues and concerns,” says Task Force Member, Captain Jason Sabourin.
He adds, “There is value in having Kettle Campaign Coordinators contribute in a private, online setting as issues and suggestions come to mind versus having to wait for a formal meeting. It’s privacy also motivates employees to share more freely.” According to Captain Sabourin, other types of social media, including Google Hangouts and Skype were also discussed as internal communication possibilities, but it was Facebook’s familiarity that determined it to be their best option this year.
Lessons for Others
It’s refreshing to see an 134-year old, well-branded organization build upon its roots by embracing advancements in social media communication, specifically in the area of employee involvement. Traditions can often be springboards to new, current methods of ensuring employees continue to feel heard, included and valued.
The Salvation Army Ontario Central East Division
Name of Organization Contact: Lieutenant-Colonel Sandra Rice, Divisional Commander
Authored by: Tammy Sabourin, student of University of Waterloo Social Media for Business Performance
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