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Bell Ringer Video and FAQ

Got questions about volunteering as a bell ringer in Minnesota or North Dakota? Watch this video, then scroll through our FAQs. Thank you for considering a shift at a red kettle this Christmas season.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t find your answer below, please call us at call 651-746-3519 or 800-456-4483.

Thank you for asking! The Salvation Army has established the following national guidelines for all bell ringers to safely participate in our Red Kettle Campaign:

  • All volunteers must watch this short video on COVID-19 best practices for bell ringing this year: Bell Ringer COVID-19 Training Video
  • At this time we are recommending, but not requiring volunteers to wear a mask.
  • All bell ringers must wear winter or disposable gloves at all times
  • Please utilize provided hand sanitizer when appropriate.
  • Please maintain at least 6 feet of safe social distancing when a donation is being made into the kettle. If you need to take a step back, please do.
  • If you are sick, do NOT volunteer to bell ring. Please call the Christmas Hotline if you need to cancel your shift: 651-746-3519

When you volunteer to bell ring, you help improve, and even save lives. The money dropped in a red kettle goes right back into your local community. By now you’ve likely heard that two hours of your time at a Salvation Army red kettle raises about $60 in donations.

While anyone is invited to join us as a bell ringer, kids under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Teens 16 and older do not need to have an adult present. Families report bell ringing is a great way to instill a sense of community spirit in young children.

The kettle is securely locked onto the stand, and only Salvation Army staff may remove it. If the next ringer has arrived, simply give them the bell. If no one has come to replace you or collect the equipment (last shift of the day), simply place the bell next to the kettle, and you may leave. Volunteers are not responsible for “standing guard” over the kettle once their shift is finished.

Most kettle sites have limited space. Groups of more than three people may intimidate potential donors. Generally, up to five people may ring at a kettle site at one time, except in special cases.

Simply sign up for a date, time and location that’s convenient for you. A kettle and bell will at your location when you arrive. If there is already a ringer there, just let them know you are the next scheduled volunteer and take over for them. Then, start ringing with a smile. Wish shoppers a “Merry Christmas” and thank people for their donation.

In most areas, volunteers can sign up for a minimum shift of two hours. We encourage volunteers to take four hours or more to help The Salvation Army manage sites and volunteers more efficiently. To make it even more fun, we encourage you to find someone to ring with you.

If you are unable to make your scheduled ringing time, please call your local Salvation Army office at least 48 hours before your shift. If your shift is fewer than 48 hours away, please call the contact number listed on your confirmation email.

As part of our agreements with the stores, we are not allowed to give out items or promotional materials at kettles. We ask that while you are volunteering you do not give anything such as candy canes, flyers or other items to shoppers.

The Salvation Army is a Christian church. We want everyone to have the opportunity to attend a worship services on Sundays and enjoy a day of rest.

Yes, it does. If you would like to schedule community service hours, indicate this in the notes or comments field when you select your shift. Fill out as much of your form ahead of time and bring it with you to be signed. If you need additional documentation, please contact the kettle coordinator in your area.