I've been helping with recruiting at my Dept. and there are a few things that have worked. I live in a pretty small town, so quality prospects are mimited. However, being creative helps a great deal. We just had our "Recruit NY" Open house and it was a flop. Every dept. in our county did on the same weekend, so it was watered down. Literally too, it rained and was a miserable day. I did some research and all the other dept.s had similar results.
So, what we did was create a Open House/Open recuitment plan. We decided that we'll pick a warmer day and plan it out far in advance. Get people excited and committed to coming. We also hand out applications at all our events. I carry them with me. If I see someone that might be a good firefighter or wants to help, I talk to them. We also have a committe that interviews applicants. We are in charge of the new applicants being excepted or not, bring to the monthly meeting and giving our suggestions. Also, if you get people to apply, follow up. Call them. Groom them. Help them with the new experience. Inform them of all that is happening. Form a committee, make a plan and do it. We've had 12 members in the past 8 months.
The trick with recruiting is that it must be an on-going process that identifies and advertises to all segements of the community with a different message tailored to each groups reasons for wanting to become a firefighter.
Let me break that first paragraph down. First of all, periodic recruiting drives simply do not work. There should always be some level of recruiting going on. In other, words, there should always be a message out there that you are looking for people. That certainly does not mean that there can't be times when the message may be more intensive than others, but the department should always be ready to welcome anyone that may walk through the door and have a plan in place to get them involved in the department.
Secondly, different deomgraphic groups in the community look to join the fire department for very different reasons. All of those reasons work of Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs, so having abasic understanding of that concept will greatly aid in the development of a recruiting plan. The plan should identify which groups in the community you want to taregt, should identify thier reasons for joining, identify where the best locations are to deliver the messages to each group and identify the specific wording of the messages and the techniques that will be used.
As an example, one of maslov's needs is a wanting to be part of a team nd there are specific groups that will join for that reason. Athletes, ex-military and other folks used to working in a team atmosphere will generally seek out volunteer activities that involve teamwork, especially under stressful conditions, such as firefighting. What you need to do is identify places in your community where these folks can be found. That likely may include gyms, softball and other athletic leagues. Once you identify these locations you need to develop messages that stress the team atmosphere and brotherhood of firefighting. Then decide how you will deliver these messages - posters, handouts, videos, maybe even a n piece of apparatus with a table at the ballfield.
That being said, if you are marketing brotherhood, as an example, your department better be able to deliver. It's no different if you are marketing any other message. if your department's training does not challenege personnel physically, and that is something you are using to bring people in, they likely will leave.
There other motivations that draw community members to the fire department as well. They include a sense of belonging, a sense of safety, self-actualization, physical and mental challenges, learning new skills, etc. The trick is attaching all of these motivations to specific demographic groups in your community that will eb attracted by those aspects of the fire service then developing specific messages to attract them.
And yes, effective recruiting does require a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of effort. And yes, it is a constant process. Sure, you can throw one or two messages aout there, and yes, you will attract some interest, but there is a reason advertisers have specific messages for specific demographics, and recruiting for the fire department is no different.
lap dances on drill night.
Our volunteer dept. is all we have for another dept to respond will be more than 30 minutes away...its a good thing to have volunteers there three around us that help out on every call....this is what the community needs...screening members or potential members..according to by laws have to go under a background check....community events setting up a booth to encourage member ship is a great thing...