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RSA GOES DIGITAL FOR 2016 POPPY APPEAL
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You can now donate to the 2016 RSA Poppy Appeal via text.

The RSA is reaching out to younger generations in its campaign to support New Zealand’s younger cohort of veterans, with the official launch of its Text Poppy service, starting today (1 April).

The public can make a $3 donation by texting POPPY to 4662, alongside the traditional Poppy Day collection, when thousands of volunteers including veterans and Defence Force personnel, will be giving out poppies in return for a contribution.

National RSA Support Services Manager Mark Compain says the text service is part of the RSA’s focus on embracing current technology in the support of its contemporary veterans.

“People think of veterans as being older,” he said. “But those who were deployed in recent conflicts like Afghanistan and Timor are also veterans and we are here to support them too.

“We honour the memory of those who have gone before by caring for those still with us – and extending our donation reach to include digital options is just another way to help us do this.”

New Zealand currently has 31,000 veterans of overseas deployments, and tens of thousands of men and women who have served honourably within New Zealand. Of those deployed overseas, 11,000 were from the period from WWII to Vietnam, with 20,000 serving in New Zealand’s 41 overseas deployments post-Vietnam.

Funds raised through the appeal support the work of the RSA’s voluntary support advisors across the country to help improve the quality of life for current and former servicemen and women, and their dependents.

The wide range of support provided varies from individual grants to alleviate need and hardship (for example, hearing aids, or helping younger veterans re-train in other fields), developing family support for current serving NZDF personnel, and ensuring support for returned servicemen or women suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ambassador for the 2016 Poppy Appeal and 2012 Young New Zealander of the Year, Sam Johnson, whose Student Volunteer Army played an integral role in the placement, transport, food, and support of Cantabrians following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, welcomes the new digital focus.

Increasing the number of ways people can support important services plays a big part in creating a country that looks after its people, he says.

“As a younger group, the Student Volunteer Army love working with the RSA to further the spirit of service in New Zealand. It's not just about digital donating, but building a service-driven nation – which is also why we have jointly launched "Serve for NZ", to encourage 1+ hour of volunteering on or around ANZAC Day.”

Mr Compain said that offering a range of donation options was about ensuring the RSA remained relevant – something that is particularly pertinent this year, as the National RSA celebrates its 100th anniversary.

“New Zealanders are becoming increasingly digital, and Kiwis are going cashless fast. In addition to the wonderful work of our street collectors, we welcome the opportunity for people, especially our younger generations, to support us in new, digital ways.

“Digital giving is the future of donating, and is looking to become the major way charities receive donations in the next few years. As a responsible organisation, the RSA needs to adapt to that trend and make it as easy as possible for the large number of New Zealanders who want to give to our worthy cause.”

To make a $3 donation, text POPPY to 4662. You can also donate online at rsa.org.nz/donation.

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Looks like the possums found a new hiding spot. We’ve dispatched our animal control guys to get them.