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    Default Retention Grant and how to spend it?

    My department has a received a R & R grant and the big question to me is: How does or what can a volunteer department spend it's grant money on to retain members? Give them all a big party? No. Not that we have big parties (really) but if we did, that money comes from our foreign insurance funds. How does a volunteer department use it's grant to retain members? All help on this will be appreciated. Thanks to all in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retcaptain View Post
    My department has a received a R & R grant and the big question to me is: How does or what can a volunteer department spend it's grant money on to retain members? Give them all a big party? No. Not that we have big parties (really) but if we did, that money comes from our foreign insurance funds. How does a volunteer department use it's grant to retain members? All help on this will be appreciated. Thanks to all in advance.
    Wasn't this explained in your project?

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    Really, how did you get the money without telling them what you were going to do with it? That and I wanna know who gave it to you so I can hit 'em up

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    Guys I think the guy is retired, by his screen name, and he is probabaly on the outside looking in, knowing they got a grant and wondering what they are going to do with it.

    retcaptain, there are many things they can do with it. LOSAP, medical benefits, college tutition, gas reimbursement to name a few.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    That is true, Kurt. I recently joined a volunteer fire dept. as a social member. But social members have great latitude as a member of this dept. I am just getting into the grant writing ops, being asked for my expertise from my years as a Captain/Paramedic (24) in a career dept. in the narrative area among other aspects of the application. So, I'm very new to this process (never wrote a grant while on the job) so I posted this query to see the responses and to get an idea how this forum worked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDCaptainRet View Post
    That is true, Kurt. I recently joined a volunteer fire dept. as a social member. But social members have great latitude as a member of this dept. I am just getting into the grant writing ops, being asked for my expertise from my years as a Captain/Paramedic (24) in a career dept. in the narrative area among other aspects of the application. So, I'm very new to this process (never wrote a grant while on the job) so I posted this query to see the responses and to get an idea how this forum worked.
    Sometimes it takes an older dog to recognize a older dog seeking to learn new tricks! LOL! I am here to help at any time.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    The first thing you would need to do, is ask WHY people are leaving the department.

    You may THINK that you know, but until you really ASK people who have left, you don't have a clue. Conduct an exit interview, and then talk to them again in 2 months.

    Do the math and figure out what you need to comply with NFPA. Are you meeting it? What will it take to meet it for your agency?

    Now, you have the information you need to come up with a plan.

    We found recognition to be lacking. Most of the people in the area thought we were a paid department. Yeah, right. I would have never believed it if someone told me that was the perception - heck, our signs even say VOLUNTEER. I had a hard time believing just how many people believed in this one.

    Lots of people did not even know we needed help. When the call went out we came. We needed help?

    Training. People wanted more. They wanted it here. They wanted to know how to do the job we were giving them.

    Time. We ask them to respond, to train, to maintain, and fund raise? (SAFER could not do too much on this one)

    So we attacked each one in our R&R grant. Recognize the volunteers. Coats with our new engine embroidered on the back. Department patch on the front. No reflective, no mission, just a coat they can wear to Wally World. Signs for their cars.

    A sign to get our "help wanted" message out there. Big old LED sign. Not funded anymore. We got the sign and the electricity to run it.

    A telephone line for a recruiting hotline. Don't snicker, on our budget our two stations have no telephones.

    Basic training - money to facilitate FF1, FF2, and EMS training. This is great - it is to facilitate training. We have bought CPR training dummies, and other props with it. Also paid for some classes.

    Another recognition and "thank you" item, as well as part of the FF1 and 2 training, tuition reimbursement. I now have more EMT/Firefighters than any fire department in our area, and more college level firefighters. And it shows.

    We put in a lounge area. Big screen TV, DVD, Games, furniture. Not the draw we had thought it would be. The big screen does help with training.

    Our recruiting and retention numbers are high - I have a passel of good people. Much better response. Better trained. The public is much happier - which we hope relates to them agreeing on our tax district issue. Hmmm.. Maybe SAFER did help on that fund raising issue?

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    Blake brings up good points to consider about retention. When I attended the Beyond Helmets and Hoses seminar by Chief Greg Render, it was pointed out there that the number one reason for a volunteer leaving was,,,, lack of recognition.

    I guess discouraging the glory hunters had its down side after all.

    Maybe when someone does something extra on behalf of he department we should give them a little more recognition. At least clap for them during the meeting after pointing their efforts out.

    I am definately going after SAFER next year.

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    Recognition is always a good thing in public safety employees lives. Our is an often thankless job with low pay, long hours and ,much personal sacrifice. The general public frequently is ignorant of those facts. When I was active in my career I made it a point to have an "Above and Beyond" recogniton award put on my City Commissions agenda each month and a single FF and Police Officer were officially recognized, in front of the public at the monthly commission meeting.It was just a standing ovation form the city and a ltter added to their personnel file but, the morale boost to the officers recognized was worth its weight in gold. Sometimes its the little things that matter most!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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