The Salvation Army Bell Ringers are going digital! The classic sounds of loose change clanking inside of those famous red kettles out in front of your favorite box store may soon be replaced by the almost silent swiping of plastic cards. The Salvation Army has already begun the switch to digital donations in major markets, which may be good news for those who want to give, but never carry change, or bad news for those who have used "not having any change" as their excuse NOT to give.

This year, the charity will be testing out the use of Square, a mobile payments start-up that allows anyone to accept credit card payments via mobile devices.

Jack Dorsey, Square’s co-founder and chief executive, who also co-founded Twitter, is confident that Square is simpler than other methods of digital fund-raising because all it requires of a donor is to swipe a card and sign.

“Instead of training people on an entirely new behavior, an entirely new way to pay, we just use what they know,” Mr. Dorsey said. “It doesn’t require them to learn anything new and it doesn’t require the merchant or organization to learn anything new.”

[via NYtimes]

I can understand embracing technology, and it is proven that this new method of collecting donations will reduce the theft that nonprofits tend to experience with cash collected in small amounts... but to me, the concept of a LOT of small amounts that don't make a difference to numerous individuals coming together to make a big difference for many others is what makes nonprofits like The Salvation Army so great.

One thing is for sure -- you no longer have an excuse NOT to give. Merry Christmas and Happy Swiping!

(Shame on you if you avoid the ringing bell this holiday season, LOL)