The MarketWhile Australia is a wealthy country, the unfortunate reality is that not every Australian enjoys a life of comfort and prosperity. Homelessness, a crisis in our ability to care for older people, family breakdown and conflict, alarming levels of domestic violence and sexual abuse, inadequate provision for the mentally ill, and problems arising from drug, alcohol and gambling related addictions are growing challenges faced by the community and The Salvation Army.
AchievementsThe Salvation Army - affectionately known as ‘the Salvos’ - is one of this country’s most well-loved organisations, with research revealing it is the most highly thought of charity in Australia.
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in the slums of London by a former Methodist minister, William Booth, who wanted to make the church more accessible to the whole community. At the time, many poor and working class people were excluded from the churches. Originally known as the Christian Mission, the name ‘The Salvation Army’ was adopted in 1878 and since then the organisation’s structure has been based on military lines.
Initially Booth’s Christian Mission intended to gather the poverty-stricken multitudes of London’s East End and link them up with existing churches. However, as such people were regarded as outcasts and were not welcomed by the wealthy and respectable church members of the day, Booth was forced to provide a more permanent organisation for the ongoing spiritual care of his converts. Booth’s concern for the destitute masses of England was not only spiritual. The more he learned of the plight of the thousands spurned by Britain’s industrial revolution, the more determined he was to see lasting social change.
From the Army’s earliest days, various social programs had grown up alongside the mission’s spiritual ministry, including food shops, shelters, and homes for ‘fallen’ girls. However, these were just the first elements in a broad scheme. In the early 1890s Booth published ‘In Darkest England’, an ambitious and complex plan to deliver England from its social woes. Soon Booth opened labour exchange services, which would place thousands of unemployed persons in jobs. Discovering that some 9,000 people dropped from sight in London each year, he established a missing persons bureau. He dreamt of a farm colony where derelicts could be given honest labour and pleasant surroundings. He wanted to establish a poor man’s bank; he offered legal aid to the destitute and he envisaged an emigration scheme which would develop a new overseas colony. Throughout the 1890s there was a need to find work for the jobless, so the Army created jobs by venturing into business itself.
From this began a network of social service which continues today in 111 countries of the world. On September 5, 1880, Edward Saunders and John Gore led the first Salvation Army meeting in Australia from the tailgate of a green grocer’s cart in Adelaide’s Botanic Park. When Gore said: “If there’s a man here who hasn’t had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me,” he was expressing the Army’s concern for a person’s physical as well as spiritual needs. From this humble beginning, The Salvation Army grew rapidly in Australia. Surprisingly, pioneer Salvationists faced rowdy and sometimes violent opposition, with at least two members being fatally injured. However, by 1890 mob attacks had virtually disappeared and by 1901 Salvationists comprised more than 1 per cent of the population.
Today, The Salvation Army’s network of caring services is as wide-ranging and diverse as the areas of need in the Australian community.
Areas of service include:
- Family and community welfare centres providing emergency assistance, including food, clothing, furniture, counselling and referral.
- Child care services and camps for economically disadvantaged children and single mothers. Hostels and supported accommodation facilities for homeless men, women, young people and families in crisis.
- Refuges for women and their children fleeing domestic violence situations.
- Long term rehabilitation programs for those addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
- Youth care centres and outreach programs for those living on the streets.
- Telephone counseling, financial and professional counseling, trauma management, grief and suicide support groups.
- Court and prison chaplaincy.
- Employment and training programs.
- Family tracing service to help find missing persons. Emergency services, providing assistance in times of disaster or emergency.
- Chaplains offering support to police, fire brigade, emergencies and defence forces personnel.
- Rural chaplains.
- Outback flying service.
- English speaking classes for migrants.
- Aged care services including nursing homes
- and hostel care.
- Social education, training and supported accommodation for intellectually disabled people.
- Visitation to hospitals, nursing homes and people socially isolated in their own homes.
The Salvation Army in Australia is increasingly being regarded by governments and business as an effective, efficient, caring model for social welfare, recovery services and youth and family support. The Salvation Army Employment Plus, a central part of the Government’s provision of employment services, continues to achieve outstanding success with more than 1,000 people each week assisted to find work.
The Salvation Army’s Bridge Program continues to lead the way in drug, alcohol and gambling rehabilitation, with the programs expanding significantly in recent years to accommodate increased demand. As part of a caring community, The Salvation Army continually provides and develops family and individual support, meeting present needs effectively and focusing on developing basic skills to overcome the ‘traps and tensions’ of modern society.
Each year The Salvation Army launches an integrated communication campaign to promote its Red Shield Appeal fundraising drive, which includes a business appeal, direct mail campaign and a national doorknock weekend. The most recent campaign features the well-known phrase “Thank God for the Salvos”, but on this occasion is reinterpreted to acknowledge the incredible support of the Australian community whereby the Salvos state “We thank God for you”. The communication campaign utilises not only main media such as television, radio, press, signage, bus sides, magazine and cinema, but also links into other communication techniques such as ‘13’ telemarketing numbers, sales promotion ideas, McDonald’s traymats, promotional videos and direct response mailing. During the past 2 years, specific attention has also been given to developing the Army’s online presence.
All advertising time and space given to The Salvation Army is donated free of charge by the media which helps ensure that over 84 cents in every dollar donated to the Army goes directly to the point of need. The overall public relations program of The Salvation Army underpins and supports the communication campaign to promote the Red Shield and Christmas appeals.
The position of The Salvation Army on specific issues is communicated consistently to produce awareness of issues and solutions, as well as recognition of the one-to-one hope and care The Salvation Army offers to individuals, families and the community.
Research reveals that the popular Salvation Army slogan ‘Thank God for the Salvos’ has almost total recognition amongst the Australian public, achieving 93 per cent aided awareness.
The Salvation Army consistently comes out in research as the charity people would most like to donate to (named spontaneously).
Similarly the Red Shield logo is highly desired by companies wishing to link their brand with a solid emblem of care and compassion.
The uniform also gives the Salvos a very visible presence, often creating a sense that they are ‘everywhere’, although uniformed Salvationists are actually a very small percentage of the
THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT
- Eighty-four cents in every dollar donated to The Salvation Army goes directly to those in need. This is one of the most efficient rates of any charity in Australia.
It is thought that the name of the popular biscuit by Arnotts, SAO, stands for ‘Salvation Army Officer’.
The first moving picture film in
Australia, ‘Soldiers of the Cross’, was made by The Salvation Army.
Red-tipped ‘safety matches’ were introduced by The Salvation Army in England during the 1890s at a time when matches were still produced using poisonous yellow phosphorus which caused the fatal disease ‘Phossy Jaw’ in poor factory workers.
The Salvation Army successfully campaigned to have the age of consent
in the UK raised from 13 years of age to 16 years during 1885.
‘Strawberry Field’ was a Salvation Army children’s home where John Lennon of The Beatles spent time as a child.