Make National Salvation Army Week Great This Year

National Salvation Army Week is fast approaching, May 15-21, 2017. NSAW presents a great opportunity to tell the story of what The Salvation Army is doing in your community and to reach people who would not typically be involved with your programs and services. I know that many locations have Annual Meetings and other special events already planned around NSAW week this year.

In 1954, the week of November 18th – December 4th (now recognized in May) was declared by the United Stated Congress and proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be the first National Salvation Army Week, as a reminder to Americans to give freely of themselves. In his speech, President Eisenhower said:

“Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood. In time of war, the men and women of this organization have brought to those serving their country far from home, friendliness and warm concern. In the quieter days of peace, their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”

Below you will find some “Best Practices” as ideas you can use to promote NSAW and get your community, advisory board, and Corps family involved. The proclamation has been used by several Corps and is a great way to get to know your city leaders.

Please forward me photos and information about your events in May and we’d be happy to share some of your NSAW program ideas with the rest of the Division. Let us know what you have planned!

Additionally, we have created a NSAW Social Media Bundle. This bundle contains two posts (FB) and two tweets (Twitter) for each day of NSAW, one historical and one current, that highlight a range of Salvation Army services and programs. Click on the link below that will take you to Dropbox where you can open each folder (one folder for photos; one folder for corresponding posts & tweets) and download the resources.

Please feel free to modify and customize the posts and tweets for local use. If you will be posting your own events and photos throughout the week, please use #NationalSalvationArmyWeek in all of your posts (making sure to capitalize the ‘N’ ‘S’ ‘A’ ‘W’ in your hashtags).


Best Practices 


Ask the city mayor, a member of the city council or a member of the county commission to present the National Salvation Army Week Proclamation. This could be part of a kick-off/media event for the week, making Monday, May 15th “Salvation Army Day”


To plan this event, you should:

  1. Contact a local official and request that they present the proclamation – confirm date, location and time.
  2. Plan the kick-off/proclamation event. To include – Proclamation, Officers, Advisory Board, Media, staff, clients, brass ensemble, banner, balloons, etc.
  3. Contact Divisional Communication Director, Jon Kalahar for an example of a proclamation you can use.



(Doing The Most Good Lunch or Behind The Red Shield Lunch)

Invite Local Business partners, City Officials, Civic groups, Advisory Board members, Partner Organizations, Volunteers, and Media contacts to lunch at The Salvation Army building. Have promotional information available regarding programs, services and current needs at The Salvation Army. Following lunch, conduct a short tour of the facility.

To plan this event, you should:

  1. Confirm the date, location and time to host the Lunch and Open House and make a guest list.
  2. Prepare and mail/hand deliver invitation cards (similar to that for an Annual Dinner).
  3. Prepare promotional material to be available during lunch – Corps Newsletter, Corps program schedule, success stories, upcoming special events, etc.
  4. Arrange lunch menu – something light, inexpensive, quick and easy! (Sandwiches/Hot Dogs/Chips/Cookies)
  5. Have Salvation Army staff available during the lunch/tour to answer questions.



(*If you plan to distribute donuts on National Donut Day, June 2, 2017, you may not want to do this during NSAW)

Deliver doughnuts to local media outlets thanking them for their support during the year. Make doughnut delivery to firefighters, police, city offices and other first responders via Disaster Canteen. On the napkins (or on card stock, bookmarks, etc.) print the story of the doughnut girls and World War history. Roll out your canteen and deliver doughnuts & coffee!


For this event, you should:

  1. Approach local grocery stores/doughnut shops to donate doughnuts for National Salvation Army week.
  2. Arrange for young people or Salvation Army staff/volunteers to assist in the delivery of doughnuts.
  3. Have information available about the history of The Salvation Army “doughnut girls” – printed flyers including information about local Salvation Army programs and services (See attached)
  4. Where possible deliver doughnuts and coffee in The Salvation Army Disaster Canteen. Your canteen is great for visibility in your community!



Arrange for the Corps Officer to speak at local Civic Club (Rotary, Kiwanis, Women’s Clubs, etc) meetings during National Salvation Army week. This is a good opportunity to promote the programs and services of The Salvation Army, to educate people about the history of The Salvation Army and to provide volunteer opportunities.


For this event, you should:

  1. Contact Civic Clubs as soon as possible to request the opportunity to speak at their meeting during NSAW, May 15th– 21st
  2. Plan items to talk about – programs/services, Salvation Army history, volunteer opportunities, videos, etc.
  3. Arrange to have a brass ensemble (DHQ).
  4. Prepare a flyer with local information to hand out to club members including contact information.


#5 –  PICNIC (Lunch from the Canteen)

Arrange a picnic in a city park. Food served out of the canteen.


For this event, you should:

  1. Secure a local park area or place in a downtown area, etc.
  2. Arrange to have Corps/Area Music groups participate in the event. If you do not have music groups available invite another church or school group to participate. Another alternative would be to play Christian music/Christian radio station during the picnic time.
  3. Prepare hot dogs or sandwiches to serve to Corps people and the community during the picnic.
  4. Promote event to Corps people and community.
  5. Have bounce house/games/stalls, run by Corps people, staff and volunteers.



Have a Family Store sale promoting National Salvation Army Week.


For this event, you should:

  1. Promote the NSAW sale in local media and at the store.
  2. Arrange to have a remote broadcast by a local radio station—to cover sale, NSAW, programs & services, how community can get involved.
  3. Serve coffee outside the store from the Disaster Canteen.
  4. Pass out information about programs and services.