1. #1
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    Default "Standardized letter of Thanks/Support"

    Here's a thought...how about a couple of seasoned veterans of the Fire Service, AFGP, etc (BC79er comes to mind :-) ), cobble together a nice standardized letter stating how well the AFGP works, how much it's appreciated and what a fantastic program it really is...for departments, communitites, citizens and federal folks.

    Post the letter and encourage everyone to download it, mod it a little to fit their department and then send it on to DHS and/or our elected officials.

    I don't usually bring up a 'request for a to do' without taking a first stab, but I am new to the program and don't feel I have enough experiecne to draft such a letter. I, however, would be happy to assist in any way possible.

    Again being new, I am not sure if this has been done or if it's really a good idea but thought I might throw it out for digestion.

    Our department has been very fortunate. We got a 2004 grant award for PPE, SCBA and got the 10 questions on May 25, 2005 for this year. I can't help but want to join a bandwagon of support for this program.

    Please let me know if I am cracking smoke as I would love to help.

    Best,

    Matt
    --
    e.g.h.
    Matt

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    Default Letter

    Matt, that is a good idea. Check my website next week and I will have one posted to use.

    KB

  3. #3
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    I certainly appreciate the thought of being someone to craft such a thing. And while any contact that the members of Congress get in support of this program is great, I think personalized letters would get more attention. Too many organizations mail form letters for people to sign in support for/against something. I know I get a ton of them and basically the message is lost on me when they all sound the same.

    Just like the narratives that are part of the application need to reflect a personal image of the department and the need to be taken as sincere, I think any letters to Congress ought to encompass the same sincereness. We all have had different levels of success, including none at all. But I have yet to find someone to disagree that the program is worthwhile and greatly needed in all parts of the country. I think the same way about petitions: they may show a lot of support at first look, but I think the message would be more taken to heart if we each wrote something personal. I'm sure we'd come close to saying the same thing, just like there are only so many ways to slice a PPE narrative, but the point would be that we all took the time to express our opinion rather than be a check mark. Form letters tend to be just counted instead of read, and that's not the message we want to bring.

    So I believe a personalized letter would work better, regardless of how long it is. Anything to let them know that we need to not only continue the program, but expand it's funding base.

    Regardless of success or failure, having the opportunity is better than not.

    Good luck all, and start writing. - Brian
    Brian P. Vickers
    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
    Emergency Services Consulting
    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by BC79er
    I certainly appreciate the thought of being someone to craft such a thing. And while any contact that the members of Congress get in support of this program is great, I think personalized letters would get more attention. Too many organizations mail form letters for people to sign in support for/against something. I know I get a ton of them and basically the message is lost on me when they all sound the same.

    Just like the narratives that are part of the application need to reflect a personal image of the department and the need to be taken as sincere, I think any letters to Congress ought to encompass the same sincereness. We all have had different levels of success, including none at all. But I have yet to find someone to disagree that the program is worthwhile and greatly needed in all parts of the country. I think the same way about petitions: they may show a lot of support at first look, but I think the message would be more taken to heart if we each wrote something personal. I'm sure we'd come close to saying the same thing, just like there are only so many ways to slice a PPE narrative, but the point would be that we all took the time to express our opinion rather than be a check mark. Form letters tend to be just counted instead of read, and that's not the message we want to bring.

    So I believe a personalized letter would work better, regardless of how long it is. Anything to let them know that we need to not only continue the program, but expand it's funding base.

    Regardless of success or failure, having the opportunity is better than not.

    Good luck all, and start writing. - Brian
    Brian,

    I totally agree, but not having the exposure to this program for as long as others, I may not be able to target the appropriate areas for thanks.

    I was planning on mod'ing "our" letter of support and identifying what we have received in the past and why it made such a difference. By doing this and coupling the "stock ideas that are important" from a standardized letter, I think I will get a better product.

    I can say thanks all day, but adding value to that thanks is the real key.

    I really appreciate your efforts and would be happy to share our letter with others. (once it's done) :-)

    Best,
    --
    e.g.h.
    Matt

  5. #5
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    I was thinking that just including some of what has been going around already is enough to build your own: Thanks for the program being structured the way it is, being as well run as it is. Definitely include any successes with the program and how much that equipment means to the department and the community, and how it would have been impossible without the grant program.

    I'm not just a fan of form letters, especially since a lot of people try that with their grant narrative and it gets seen through very quickly. Just like we've all been telling folks, sincerity is the most important piece of an application. I see the argument that any letter is better than no letter, even if they are all the same, but mom always said something from the heart a lot better than something from the store. I mean, after all, technically these forums are filled with personalized notes that could have been easily turned into letters.

    Think of how many form letters you receive and think about how much you actually pay attention to them. The ones asking for donations, the ones asking for your vote. Multiply that by the thousands and that is what our members of the government get bombarded with every day asking for their support on something. Form letters get form letters as replies. Every personalized note I've ever sent was replied to with a personal note. Whether the Congressperson actually said the words, or their staffer did it for them, at least I got the message that what I said was read and understood, and not just a form letter with computerized signature thanking me for my concern with ______. That's all I'm saying. I can certainly make one for people to use, but odds are I'll end up just doing what we've been doing with the narratives: writing one, and then letting others use it as an example.

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    That is a good ideal anyone have the address they would like to share.. dont get me wrong i do support this program i just don't agree with how they go about issuing the dear johns.. i for one would like to thank them in a letter. we recieve a grant last year for ppe, thermal camera and new scba's so i for one would like to say thank you

  7. #7
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    House of Representives Member Search:

    http://clerk.house.gov/members/index.html

    Senate:

    http://www.senate.gov/general/contac...nators_cfm.cfm

    Definitely start with your local and state is my advice. Send in some pictures of the equipment and the people. Pictures are always more convincing.

    Another great tool would be the press releases. Use them to get the Congressfolk down to the station when the stuff comes in, show them what's been bought, and go from there. Make sure the media is there to capture them in the act of openly supporting the program.

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    Default Letters fo Support

    Brian, in general I agree with you in principle about "form letters" but, I think what the guy was trying to get across is that many of them may not even know how to write it, or what to say. Think about the many, many individuals who call seeking grant assistance and they cannot put two words together in a complete sentence, yet alone use a word processing program and understand the egrants process. Having an "example" of the language to use, and then personalizing it, is not a bad idea for many. At least the letter gets sent, if you leave it up to them to construct, many will give up before they even try! I am drafting one to be posted on my website in the morning, complete with links to get the addresses and all. Those that need the help can use it and those that do not, well....

    KB

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    I see validity to both points of view. If you have played this game for a while and can write narratives that normally are funded, you can write an appropriate thank you letter. If a writer is new or has not been fortunate enough to have been funded, perhaps some help would be useful, even if it is only correct facts and figures. This forum demonstrates the importance of learning from each other.

    Regardless of your writing abilities, sincerity and the benefits you have seen derived from the program are the key elements. While poor grammer, spelling and research will not result in many narratives being funded, any thank you letter that is personalized and sincere will be much more appreciated and effective than a download and sign generic form that has all of the appeal of spam or junk mail.

    Also, submit an AFG sucess story, which provides DHS (USFA) with tangible information to use as a tool to secure and strengthen congressional support.

    If you need help, ask politely and I'll bet you shall receive. If you can go it alone, have at it.

    Most importantly, just please do it!

  10. #10
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    Default Letter of Support

    All valid points. For those less gifted, at the art of composing a letter, there is one posted "as an example" in downloadable form on my website. There are links to get your senator or congressmans address as well.

    KB

  11. #11
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    I send our narrative to the politician and they formulate a letter that supports the contents of the narrative.

    That way each letter is different and the politician (their staff) can understand what exactly we are looking for and what exactly our needs are.

    Makes a more personal note.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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