The Salvation Army ended up a little bit short of its $355,000 goal for Waterloo Region for the 2012 kettle campaign, and e-commerce may be to blame.

“It looks like we’re going to be about $17,000 short of that goal,” says Major Gary Brown of the Salvation Army.

That shortfall means the organization will have to stretch their limited dollars even further to help the needy in Waterloo Region and communities across Ontario.

Brown says his organization and others that rely on foot-traffic from holiday shoppers are hurt by the rise in online shopping. With many Canadians buying gifts from their computer rather than traipsing through shopping malls, it means fewer feet walking past kettles and donation bins.

Choosing to fight fire with fire, the Salvation Army has set up its own online donation bin, encouraging donors to make their usual donation even if they won’t be in their usual shopping place.

The I-Kettles, as they’re called, have been around for five years, but this is the first season for the Salvation Army to set up its own dedicated websites devoted solely to raising money over the holidays.

“We’re putting a lot of effort into making it easier for people to donate online,” says Brown.

Another change which might help the Salvation Army and other charities – and one which doesn’t involve technology – is Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid’s bill to extend the charity season through the end of February.

Right now, donations must be made by Dec. 31 to qualify for a tax break the following year. Braid wants to see that period extended by two months.

“In essence, I believe that will create a second season of giving,” he says.

“Donors will have a second reason, a second opportunity, to give to the charities that do such important work.”

Braid’s bill is due to receive second reading in the House of Commons in February.