1. #1
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    Default Donation letters...we don't need no steenkeeng donation letters...

    Rural fund-raising has been a hot issue of late, perhaps this thread can provide unique fund-raising ideas beyond bingo, bake sales, etc.

    Here's my two cents:

    We do a donation drive like many other departments around the country. Instead of sending out mailers...we go door to door to EVERY residence in our two townships and borough. It's difficult to turn us down when we're face to face. In addition we can answer questions...check smoke detectors...check extinguishers...review escape plans...anything the resident needs in regard to safety. This has been VERY successful for us. Make sure you display your I.D. and alert the public of when you are doing your event. Some coffee cans and a good pair of walking shoes can possibly make you a few thousand dollars. We always go out on the Saturday of Fire Prevention Week.

    Other ideas???
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    Two, for Me... One, for the Fire Dept...... I am just kidding. I think it sucks, having to go door to door that is. I would rather like stamps anyday.
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

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    LICK .........
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

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    Originally posted by neman
    I would rather like stamps anyday.
    That is, if your department can afford stamps... I don't think mine could.

    *Mark
    FTM-PTB-RFB-EGH

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    "Sucks"???!!??? Webteam.........I'll be good.

    Perhaps it is not suited for your department's needs or goals, perhaps your mailer is working quite nicely for you, maybe you have sensitive knuckles and banging doors causes injury....but "sucks"??? Can we do better than this???


    Sometimes we have to do things we don't necessarily enjoy for the betterment of our department, community or selves. It's a good "crust" builder.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    Default Pick a better adjective/adverb!

    Stayback:
    Deep breaths, bud!
    Neman is going to sit at his station and while he is waiting for Publisher's Clearinghouse to roll up out front with his million dollar check, he is going to like lick stamps! Fer sure, dude.
    He wasn't dissin' you; he just doesn't like walkin' and talkin'.
    IMACOJ; makin' crust the old fashion way!

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    Thanks Chief -- Your perspective on any situation is always a good one.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    Post Not for everyone.....

    Nothing works like face to face contact. But with an area the size of ours, we find it necessary to use the U.S. Mail for our annual fund drive letters. We have, for years, sent it out in mid September and this year it went out - YESTERDAY! what timing for this thread. This years total was 10,680 letters, thats 1 to each residence and business in our area. With 5 pieces of apparatus and 45 people, we would be a long time trying to get to all of those. So that leaves it up to the postman. We are trying a door to door thing in a different manner, however, as it seems to be the best way to do volunteer recruiting. The current game plan is to target a neighborhood, do a door to door canvas, and a month later, do another one. So far, so good, but we will need some time to do a proper study to see if it's an effective approach. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

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    One of the local departments next to mine sends out a mailer, then a couple weeks later sends out another one to those people that havent responded, which states that they are accepting donations and which can be returned in the self addressed stamped envelope. Then if they still dont dont get a response from people they will go door to door to those addresses that have not responded and answer questions. I guess it works fairly well for them.

    My FD just does a mail out right around tax refund time. It seems to work pretty well for us.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    In my area, we have a lot of summer rental homes. Going door to door with these people never used to help us as they were only there for a week, so if it burned, as long as it wasn't there week, they weren't very concerned. Led to lots of walking, little donations. We now do a mailout to the property owner, not the resident, and have had a much better response as the owner does care about the property being there to rent.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default . . . of Barbques and Bake Sales

    O.K. - here's one that's pretty popular with just about any group looking for funds (Volly R.S., Moose Lodge, etc.) in my area.
    (Bear with me it's a little hard to explain)

    You have a money give away (wait we're trying to raise money by giving it away ???)

    This affair is not for the faint hearted.
    In the beginning, you sell 99 Tickets at $100 each (Some folks here do $50 tickets but we've never had a problem selling out at $100).

    Each ticket entitles the bearer and 1 Guest to Admittance/Dinner to the give away. There is also an open bar (optional but it helps) for 1 to 1-1/2 hours prior to dinner being served.

    As each ticket holder arrives they get to pick from a tray of ping pong balls numbered 1 to 99 (Some folks "assign" these numbers based on ticket number so do your own thing here).

    Now - dinner is over and it's time for the "give away". Prior to this point you should have established a "prize schedule" (and hopefully had it printed on all the tickets you sold).

    It should look something like this.
    1st Ball - $50
    25th - $100
    50th - $100
    90th - $250
    100th - $1000 (Grand prize winner)

    Toss in other winners as you think you need to keep folks interested. Substitute some gift certificates if you like (Esp. if you can get those donated too).

    This is the basic framework of the game - it's kinda like your own personal lottery.

    Now for the "extras" that make you more $$$
    You sell $1 chances to raffle off ball #100 which is not awarded nor added to the drawing pot until after the 90th ball is drawn. (The winner is now guaranteed a 1 in 10 chance at the grand prize)

    You sell tickets on a "side board" - you can have as many of these as you like. We typically do a $5 and $10 sideboard. These are simply a sheet with tickets numbered 1 to 100. You sell a single ticket for each number and whoever has the ticket with the number of the last ball drawn out (Grand Prize winner) gets half the $$ from that side board. You DO NOT have to pick the same number as your ball and you can buy more than one ticket if you like.

    Have a 50/50 Raffle for $1 tickets during the social hour to start the night off.

    If you can handle food prep & service then that will cut your overhead cost wise and if you have the people to pull it off then go for it. Otherwise look for a good caterer (the one we use will do everything - all we do is have their table set up when they get there. They even serve on real plates and use real flatware - no paper and plastic)

    Hopefully you get the idea.
    It's a lot of "behind the scenes" work to get set up, but you start the game with $9,900 (gross) in your pocket. Shop around for best deals on supplies and work the crowd for the "extras" and you've got a 1 night net of 4 to 5 grand (or better) coming your way.

    If you're interested and want more info. or have questions then feel free to e-mail me at n2dfire@hotmail.com
    Last edited by N2DFire; 09-18-2002 at 10:49 AM.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Thumbs up

    We did the mailing (residential and commercial) way back and then had a problem with some of the mail carriers dumping stacks of them in the sewer.....So, we did the door-to-door thing for years and about 7 or 8 years ago, we went back to the mailing and actually have gotten more money! And it has continued to increase. Of course, the population has slightly increased, we had the 1995 Wildfires that sent our donations way high, and then 9-11. It's all relative and we get donations year-round even though we do the mailing first in the fall and then one or two follow-ups in the winter and spring.

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    Wink Relax stay back...I do have sensative knuckles

    I hate it when people come to my door. Unless you have an invitation or you’re a good friend. Send it to me in the mail. That way I can rip it up and throw it in the trash if I don’t feel like donating at that point in time. Mail is much less personable, but it gives people much more privacy. I am a private guy, I don’t want every organization that’s needs money pounding on my door. And “Yes” I have done the door-to-door thing. I have also done the building inspection thing even handed out CO detectors and Smoke detectors, during Fire Prevention Week. I got the feeling that I was interrupting people and ****ing them off more often then I was welcomed in and given a donation. Send them a Post Card Set up an open house and watch the generous people come.
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

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    Bones -- Good point...I never really gave that much thought.

    N2DFire -- Thank you!! That is great input and I'm hoping to generate more good ideas like that.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    Default Re: Relax stay back...I do have sensative knuckles

    Originally posted by neman
    I hate it when people come to my door. Unless you have an invitation or you’re a good friend. Send it to me in the mail. That way I can rip it up and throw it in the trash if I don’t feel like donating at that point in time. Mail is much less personable, but it gives people much more privacy. I am a private guy, I don’t want every organization that’s needs money pounding on my door. And “Yes” I have done the door-to-door thing. I have also done the building inspection thing even handed out CO detectors and Smoke detectors, during Fire Prevention Week. I got the feeling that I was interrupting people and ****ing them off more often then I was welcomed in and given a donation. Send them a Post Card Set up an open house and watch the generous people come.


    NOW.....I understand..thanks!
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    For several years, we did the door to door thing. It was a real pain in the butt. It was always difficult getting enough people to cover the entire district (about 1300 homes and businesses). You were exhausted by the end of the day. Inevitably, you missed many of the people and even though we left flyers and info on how to send in a donation in many cases if you didn't catch someone at home you never heard from them.
    Five years ago we went to an annual mail out. We send a letter with a return envelope (not stamped) follow up with another letter a month later for the ones that didn't respond and finally a third letter a month after that.
    The mail out works much better. It's a lot easier to get enough people together to stuff and stamp envelopes than go door to door. (Neman - the post office has these self adhesive stamps and we do like them) Better still - our participation rate from the citizens went from around 20% to about 30%.
    I think the 30% participation rate is still pitiful though. Just curious - what kind of participation rate are the rest of you seeing?

  17. #17
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    We are at nearly 50%. It goes to show how each community is truly different.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    Default Stamp Lickers / Stickers Take note

    For all of you folks who do a Mass mailing.

    Have you looked into getting a bulk mailing permit ??

    My Rescue Squad did a mail out once and we decided that it was going to be cheaper on postage to pay for the permit that it would to buy stamps.

    Also I belive that for those of you who include return envelopes, that you can have those "metered" (I think is the propper term) as well. That way folks don't have to pony up for a stamp to send you a donation - plus it won't cost you (that much) more to do it.


    Now that I thought about it and did some quick research, The USPS Web site has a really good section on bulk mailing and helping to decide if it is right for you.

    http://www.usps.com/businessmail101/

    Just a thought.

    ********
    Did more research after posting. Also look into Nonprofit Rates after you get your mailing permit. Very interesting rate break.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 09-19-2002 at 01:28 PM.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    We do bulk mailing and use the bulk mailing permit instead of stamps. We also include a return envelope that is metered? with the recipients name and address label on it also. The cost was not much and we felt it helped people with returns instead of them searching for envelope and then stamps. It also helps as we get 3 sets of labels for the addresses from our county tax records office. 1 label on outside envelope, 1 label on inside envelope (return address). As we receive the envelopes, we cross their label off the remaining set. After a couple months, we send a second letter to those labels that are not crossed out. It helps to have the name and address on the label rather than "Resident" as it gives a more personal feeling. Another thing that helps with the costs is to sort the mail according to post office standards. Don't know them, but sure you can find them. Course, it only helps if you are mailing outside your town on that one. We do a lot of out of town mailing as we send to property owners, not current residents, and there a lot of rentals.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Anybody else do reverse raffles out there?
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

  21. #21
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    Default thank yous

    A lot of people have mentioned sending out a follow up letter (or two in some cases) of the people you don't hear from after a month or so. I was wondering if anyone takes the time or effort to send out thank you notes to those people who do donate money.

    Thanks

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    I was wondering if anyone takes the time or effort to send out thank you notes to those people who do donate money.
    When we send out our first letter of the year, the people that donated the previous year get a different letter than those that did not. At the beginning of it states " Our records indicate that you made a contribution to us during our annual fund raiser last year. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for your support. It is the support of concerned and caring individuals such as yourself that allows us to continue to provide our services to the community. We sincerely thank you."

  23. #23
    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Post Sonofapreacher take note...........

    In our case, we send out a "First letter" in mid Sept. each year. A second, "follow-up" letter goes out in mid Nov. The follow-up letter starts off with "If you are one of those families in our community who has contributed to our annual fund drive, THANK YOU." If, in the rush of things you have not had time to send in your tax-deductible donation, there is still time........" This letter goes to the same address list that the first one did. It has worked well for us for some years now. If you wish to get more info, send me an email. To answer another question (from Tennessee) our "Reply Rate" is around 28%. Stay Safe....
    Last edited by hwoods; 09-20-2002 at 12:02 AM.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

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    When we receive a donation over a certain dollar amount (don't remember what it is) we send a personalized Thank You. Our normal letter also mentions Thanks for your help in the past.

    StayBack - what's a reverse raffle?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Golf tournament.

    Trust me, there is someone on your department that is a golf freak (maybe a closet golf freak, but he's there). This would be an excellment person to ask about golf tournaments.

    A golf course will close for half a day (or all day) if you guarantee X amount of players.

    Besides selling the tickets to play, you can:

    -sell sponsorships of holes

    -sell chances for a hole-in-one contest. This involves taking out an insurance policy against the hole-in-one. Depends on how much you want to spend on the policy, but you can give away a car or a million dollars.

    -give away prizes (usually donated by local businesses) for longest drive, longest put, etc etc.

    -have a golf cart staffed by cute females circulate the course selling refreshments

    Usually, the golf course wants its normal green fees, wants the money for cart rentals, and wants to keep the money from its pro shop/concessions, but anything can be negotiated.

    Benefits are it's not at the fire station, it requires very little in the way of 'setting up' and your local golf freak will have a real good idea of what the potentials participants will expect.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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