Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | What is poverty? A creative clip from The Salvation Army

May 30, 2016


The Salvation Army is worldwide, non-governmental direct provider of social services that has emerged as a strong force in the fight against poverty, ever since its founding in 1865 in London, England.

But what does poverty look like? I asked myself that very question, and I immediately came up with a single-word answer: homelessness. But the reality is, poverty goes far beyond the people who you notice on the street as you go about your day-to-day life, because poverty is not always immediately visible from the outside. It can take countless forms, and while homelessness is one of the shapes it takes, sometimes, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Are you familiar with The Salvation Army? Chances are, you’re familiar with their work around the world and you’ve also seen them in action, especially around the holidays. My most familiar encounters usually happen when I’m out in public and hear the jaunty ring of their signature bell. I’ll glance over to where the sound is coming from to see one of their representatives standing by a pail intended for monetary donations. Or I’ll notice one of their donation drop-off centers while I’m either driving in my car or on my feet as I stroll through downtown Philadelphia.

This video merges two primary concepts together: an alternate take on what poverty can look like, and The Salvation Army Canada in action. Together, they create a super memorable (and compelling) picture. What I find interesting, in addition to the video itself, are the reactions to it. Obviously, the clip reaches far beyond certain people’s comfort zones — of what they’ve come to know, understand, and define. So they’ve responded accordingly, more or less saying: This is not what poverty looks like.

Poverty from the inside, tackled in a creative, honest way. Take a look.

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