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Involve the local news media. Regardless of how you have decided to raise funds, the media can be a powerful ally in getting the word out about your campaign. Involve newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, newsletters and websites that cover news in your community. Be proactive. Before you kick off the campaign, ask a key local reporter to visit you and become familiar with thermal imaging and what you are attempting to achieve. A feature article published before your launch is a great way to get the public interested and involved in your effort.
To increase media coverage during your campaign, submit your own event pictures and captions to your local newspaper. This will get the word out even if media members can’t attend every event. Be sure to actively manage publicity for your largest donors by communicating their contributions through the media.
Fundraising appeals. With a well-oiled plan, your thermal imaging campaign should move along quickly. At any event you hold, try to include some type of technology demonstration, whether it is with an actual TI, a PowerPoint presentation or a video. Offer potential donors a simple handout that explains the benefits of thermal imaging in your community and requests their donation. Fundraising appeals should be diverse and frequent:
2. Set up booths at community events, to help the public understand what thermal imagers are and what they do.
3. Make presentations to local civic clubs and/or community centers that have funds for local projects.
4. Send a fundraising letter to the people you protect. If you have a local story you can share about how thermal imaging has made a difference (in a neighboring department, for example) or how it could have made a difference (the recent loss of a building in your community, for example) – share that story in your materials to bring your message home. Use photos to illustrate your points.
As your fire department initiates fundraising activities, remember not to limit yourselves to one funding source or to one funding approach. Build a team of dedicated people who are focused on the goal, and show potential donors how TIs work to save lives, preserve property and keep firefighters safe on the job.
With a determined, organized and passionate team, it’s within your reach to become equipped with thermal imagers, regardless of the size of your community.
Public Affairs Manager Rebecca Scholer directs thermal imaging funding programs for Bullard. In 2003, she developed and managed the introduction of the inSIGHT fundraising program, which helps firefighters and community leaders raise money locally for thermal imagers. Scholer also manages grant assistance programs offered by Bullard to fire departments seeking thermal imagers. She has a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Ball State University and an MBA from Indiana University. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.