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.
Is there an age requirement for bell ringers?
Families report bell ringing is a great way to instill a sense of community spirit in young children. While anyone is invited to join us as a bell ringer, kids under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and teens younger than 16 must have permission to volunteer from a parent or guardian.
How does bell ringing work?
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.
How long do I have to ring?
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.
How many people can be at the kettle?
Most kettle sites have limited space. Groups of more than three people may intimidate potential donors. Except in special cases, no more than five people may ring at a kettle site at one time.
What if I have to reschedule?
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.
What do I do with the kettle when I am finished?
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.
Can I give out Christmas treats or gifts to shoppers?
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.
Why are there no kettles out on Sundays?
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.
Does bell ringing count as community service?
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.
*iPhones and iPads require the user to download the YouTube app to play videos like the one above.
The Salvation Army Northern Division has been serving people in need in Minnesota and North Dakota for more than 125 years. We provide basic needs assistance, housing, youth services, rehabilitation, disaster relief, counseling and more.
The Northern Division is part of The Salvation Army International organization, which is dedicated to serving in Christ's name without discrimination. Whether you need help or want to make a difference for others, let us be your starting point.