The Salvation Army has been carrying that message to the world
for the past century and a half. It speaks volumes about the sender
-about an ethic-about a point of view concerning a well-lived
life-about charity, which is love.
It's not a "slogan." It's a fact-a reality that many different
organizations embrace as they work to achieve their own
I like Army slogans that seem to reveal the altruism of the
Army-that immediately communicate what we're all about-that we're
worldwide, made up of multi-national populations of every race-that
we're imbued with an energy that drives us, not only to give
"things" away, but also to lend our selves to others without
expectation of anything in return.
We are motivated by the plaintive cry of the babe of Bethlehem
whose life radiated a similar message for mankind.
We present ourselves to the general public primarily with our
actions. We communicate our commitments with our behavior. We show
our love for mankind in the dimensions of our caring.
Maybe that's why my favorite slogan about the Army is the single
It's probably a motto more than a slogan. It communicates our
ideals, our commitments, our hopes for mankind, the driving force
of our love for all people everywhere. It's not very well known by
the general public, but those who seek us out know that it
exists-and not just at the Christmas season.
So, what is a slogan? In his book Creative Advertising, Charles
Whittier says a slogan is "a statement of such merit about a
product or service that it is worthy of continuous repetition in
advertising, is worthwhile for the public to remember, and is
phrased in such a way that the public is likely to remember
It's what the public takes away with them after an
The Army has many phrases that most of us tend to accept as
slogans. I've been staring at one over the bell of my horn during
this Christmas season. It's the sign on the top of the kettle
SHARING IS CARING
This comes close to being a fine Christmas slogan. It's simple,
neat, believable, memorable, motivates action, and says enough
about our belief system that people relate it to a facet of the
Army's work. It says "Give!"-and that's exactly what we want to
have happen. This statement asks those who view it to do
It might be a two slogan sign. It also bears another
expression-a phrase for a particular time that says:
NEED KNOWS NO SEASON
This explores the "why" of giving. It fits well with the top of
the sign-is definitely a soft-sell, a very soft-sell,
non-competitive, but very true. It also gives some hint that
Christmas kettle funds will be used the year around to meet the
needs of those in distress.
We have another statement or slogan that generates an image of
the Army and also identifies our mission very well. It says:
HEART TO GOD, HAND TO MAN
I've always liked this one because it's so "us." It doesn't seek
action by anyone or even stimulate giving. It simply explains what
we're all about. It's simple, straightforward and concise. It
definitely provides the reader-viewer-observer with a notion of our
personality. We worship God and we help people. In an age of
feminism the "man" line might stir some questions and we have to
assume that the reader interprets it as "mankind." It
differentiates us from other charities and sends a message that we
can be trusted. It is not competitive. It's probably a little hard
to remember, and some get the "heart" and "hand" mixed up. One does
not see it in print very much anymore.
Another historic "slogan" presents a point of view concerning
humanity. The cover of Diane Winston's book Red-Hot and Righteous:
the Urban Religion of The Salvation Army has a poster used in a
fundraising campaign as the United States entered World War I in
1919. It trumpets the belief that:
A MAN MAY BE DOWN BUT HE'S NEVER OUT
This strikes me as a hope for humanity-a desire to inform people
that there is a "rescue" available that concerns itself with both
social and spiritual issues. It says we believe in the saving power
of God's grace and are willing to expend energy to any and all to
assist desperate people in dealing with heavy social problems.
We also have another expression, phrase, slogan, "promise,"
currently driven by some highly creative people who work with
National Headquarters. We find it sprinkled on signs, shirts, hats,
coats and mostly on any Army correspondence sent anywhere. It is
supposed to be a "new brand"-a "promise," I suppose, of commitment
and assistance. The promise part is printed under separate cover
and is not easily available- although NEW FRONTIER printed it in
its entirety in the June 11, 2005 issue. The brand-slogan-promise
includes the traditional red shield over the phrase:
DOING THE MOST GOOD
I'm not particularly enamored with this one. I think it comes
across as a little pretentious with a hint of competitiveness.
Somehow, it just doesn't say "us" to me. I know many seem to like
it, so I wear my shirt with that logo emblazoned on my left
breast-but not if I'm going to a coordinating council or a United
Way meeting. It seems to need an explanation to give accurate
meaning to the expression.