The Salvation Army is facing new challenges this season in its annual holiday fundraising campaign.
The Christian church and charitable organization says people are giving less to their Santa Claus fundraisers because there is less opportunity to drop money into the iconic red kettles.
"We think there are a couple reasons," said spokesperson Andrew Burditt to CBC Radio’s Here and Now. "Society is becoming much more cashless; people just don't carry cash anymore."
He said often people will walk up to the kettle, reach into their pockets to give, and can't find any coins or bills.
But that’s only if there is a kettle to begin with.
"Salvation Army has had a very good historic relationship with retail outlets," said Burditt. "For whatever reason in 2013, we’re having some challenges. Either we can’t get in at all, or we’re very limited in the number of opportunities in the venue."
Union Station, for instance, has been a hub for the charity that has been collecting donations for the poor for more than 130 years.
It has sent as many as 10 fundraising teams there every holiday season for 50 years. But it then has had space limited from 10 fundraiser teams to four.
This year they were only allowed one — and that’s only because another vendor cancelled.
Burditt says the Salvation Army, which often has a band playing Christmas music, was "deemed to be too loud."
That has quantifiably lowered the donations. Burditt said one kettle will gather an average of $1,000 per hour in Union Station. With 10 kettles over two hours, that’s $20,000. Much of those donations are missed in 2013.
"We’re continuing to evolve," said Burditt, explaining the organization has begun taking online and text message donations in recent years. This year, it launched fillthekettle.com, a new donation vehicle online.
"We don’t know whether we will achieve the goal of $3 million," he said. “But if for some reason we don’t make it, we’ll figure it out."