How to Volunteer for the Salvation Army

From 2006 to 2007, the Salvation Army assisted almost 29,000,000 people at roughly 7,600 service centers.
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At the mention of the phrase "Salvation Army," it's likely you'll immediately imagine a person standing outside a local store with a bell and a bright red bucket. The bell is to get your attention. The bucket is to receive your donation. If you've ever wondered what happens to the money you deposit in that red bucket, consider this: From 2006 to 2007, the Salvation Army assisted almost 29,000,000 people at roughly 7,600 service centers [source: The Salvation Army].

The Salvation Army is a Christian organization that works to better the lives of those in need. It collects money in those red buckets to raise funds for the basics, such as food and clothing, but the organization also offers programs for additional services. Some of the Salvation Army's main causes include youth camps, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, care for the elderly, disaster relief, abolishing human trafficking and prisoner rehabilitation [source: The Salvation Army].


William Booth created the Salvation Army in the late 1800s. Booth believed in taking the Christian message outside of the church to get directly to the people. He became known as an "independent traveling evangelist." The fact that Booth's small group of followers withstood the test of time and now has more than 3,000,000 volunteers speaks to the strength of his ideas and goals [source: The Salvation Army]. Former Wall Street Journal columnist and management expert, Peter Drucker referred to the Salvation Army as the most effective organization in America [source: Jones].

It's all too easy to walk right past the person with the bucket -- to duck your eyes and look at the ground. You're in a hurry. You need your money for groceries. But, if you can't offer money for the organization, you can offer your time. Volunteering with the Salvation Army is easy and extremely rewarding. In this article, we'll look at the mission and jobs of the organization.

Read on to learn more about this honorable group.


Mission of the Salvation Army

The mission statement of any group sets the precedent for what is expected of the organization's people. The Salvation Army's mission statement reflects its Christian values: "The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination" [source: The Salvation Army]. The current administration believes this Christian background helps maintain integrity and motivation [source: Jones].

The organization shares its message by using the Bible as a foundation. Founder William Booth got the idea to call his group an army after he saw a printer's proof of a 1878 annual report that said that Christianity's mission was to be a volunteer army [source: The Salvation Army]. From then on, the organization worked much like a military army, using the titles of commanders, officers and soldiers for its workers.


If you want to help make a difference, you can sign up to be a Salvation Army volunteer or look for a paying job within the group. Read on to learn about Salvation Army jobs.

Salvation Army Jobs

The Salvation Army has many paying jobs, which you can locate in the "Employment Opportunities" section of its Web site. For those interested in dedicating their lives to the organization, there are officers, soldiers and other military-related title roles available [source: The Salvation Army].

Even if you don't have a lot of time to spare, there are still many volunteer opportunities for you at the Salvation Army. You can volunteer to work at child or adult day-care centers, medical facilities, thrift shops, community centers, camps or rehabilitation centers [source: The Salvation Army].


Before you volunteer with any group, you should sit down and assess how much time you are honestly willing to dedicate each week or month. Volunteering can sound like a great idea in theory, but people often underestimate how much time and effort their services may require. Once you have figured out the available time you have to give to the organization, you can contact your local territory's headquarters:

  • Central Territory
  • Eastern Territory
  • Southern Territory
  • Western Territory

You can search for Salvation Army volunteer positions through a search engine called VolunteerMatch or enter your zip code into the organization's Web site to find your local office [source: VolunteerMatch]. Whether you are helping with disaster relief or ringing a bell outside of a department store, you will feel wonderful knowing you are working to help others in need.

To learn more, visit the links on the following page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Cole, Kevin. "Coin in kettle worth more than drop in bucket." Omaha World-Herald. 11/28/09. (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • Jones, Del. "Salvation Army's chief on a mission." Nov. 20, 2006. (Accessed 05/10/2009).
  • SACT. "Home." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • SAET. "Home." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • SAST. "Home." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • SAWT. "Home." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "Donation Receipts-Valuation Guide." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "Home." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "History." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "National Annual Report 2008." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "Position Statements." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "Programs that Help." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "The Salvation Army FY 2006/2007 Service Statistics: People Served." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "The Salvation Army FY 2006/2007 Service Statistics: Personnel." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • The Salvation Army. "Volunteer." (Accessed 05/10/09)
  • VolunteerMatch. "Home." (Accessed 05/10/09)