In 2013 Franco founded a new event to support The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division’s annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign: Celebrity Bell Ring Day. At its core, this fundraising event revolves around metro Detroit media personalities using their platform to support the nonprofit through serving as a volunteer bell ringer on the first Saturday in December. However, when in-person volunteer opportunities were compromised in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Franco had to reimagine the event through a virtual format.
Fast forward to the organization’s 2021 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign – The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division team tasked Franco with planning this event based on findings from the completely virtual 2020 experience, while also reintroducing the traditional in-person component due to lifted restrictions and evolving public health guidelines.
Franco recommended a hybrid event, combining the power of social media and online influence – seen throughout the 2020 campaign with celebrities raising funds solely through their digital networks – paired with the traditional Red Kettle bell ringing experience the metro Detroit community has come to know and love.
To maximize impact, Franco shifted the event to Celebrity Bell Ring Weekend, providing local media the option to unite across participating metro Detroit bell ringing locations on Saturday while leveraging a “virtual Red Kettle” created through the nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising platform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Franco coordinated the event from start to finish, ensuring each media personality had the tools needed to successfully raise awareness and vital donations for our community’s most vulnerable population. Providing campaign key messaging, a how-to-guide to virtual fundraising and a straight-forward social media toolkit supported high-quality content and involvement from these individuals.
With Franco’s support, the 9th Annual Celebrity Bell Ring Weekend event:
- Raised $17,272.99 through both virtual and in-person Red Kettle donations – a 41% increase compared to 2020. More than $14,000 was raised through the event’s digital fundraising component.
- Secured nearly 40 local media personalities participating in the event, which led to strong exposure for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division’s campaign across the metro Detroit community.
- Reached more than 6,800 people, garnered 310 engagements and generated 49 clicks through The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division’s social channels in the 3-day period.
Following the success of the 2021 event’s hybrid format, The Salvation Army and Franco plan to identify additional opportunities to merge expanded digital fundraising efforts with traditional events and initiatives. Celebrity Bell Ring Weekend will return for its 10th year as part of the metro Detroit nonprofit’s 2022 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign.
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign fundraising goal is $8.3 million.
— Alicia Smith (@wxyzalicia) December 3, 2021
— Zach Clark (@ZachEClark) December 4, 2021