1. #1
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    Question Help With Fundraising

    We are a smaller department providing Fire & EMS. I was just wondering how other Vol FD's gain the financial support that the tax base cannot provide. We currently do a Soup Supper in the winter and are planning on hosting a community day this summer. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Chris 324

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    There are many ways to do fund raisers. Our dept. has a fried chicken dinner once a month in June ,July, Aug. and Sept.. We did a hunted forest for about 6 years or so. Our ladies does a basket bingo about 3 times a year. You could do a car wash a couple times in the summer. And of course the standard fund drive sending letters requesting donations to everyone in your fire district. Ummmm.... Can do a turkey shoot in the fall. Various kinds of raffels, 1 dept. near us baught a gator and trailer and raffled it off. You can do a dance BYOB or get a 1 day liqure lisc. and do a bar.

    There are lost of ways to raise the money but they all have 1 thing in common, You have to put in alot of work to get the best results. Alot of going around to the various buisnesses to get stuff donated or alot of long days/nights at the fire hall to plan and set things up.

    Good luck in wht ever fund drives you decide to take up.

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    see firefighting forums or thread on this section titled... fundraising in tiny companies

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    Start looking for grants as well. There are a lot availble out there to help you with this. I don't know what state your in I know Ohio has an EMS grant that you can apply for equipment or training we have been very lucky at getting them. On average we get 3500.00 a year from them. Good luck
    Training does not make perfect. Training makes permanent!

    IACOJ probie

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    My fire company just did a dinner & comedy night at the firehouse. We also do a raffle where we raffle off a Harley Davidson. You would have to check with local procedures on how to go about doing a raffle. We have to get a permit everytime we do the raffle.

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    My department also covers a small town in Pennsylvania, which is a commonwealth, so being in a commonwealth we don't get to vote on a fire levy, or fire "tax" for the residences, but we do get a percentage of the town's general taxes. Our town is also made up of every financial class, from the poor on welfare, to the very rich. And our fund raising is very simple. Once a year we mail out fund raising cards to every resident in town. We get the cards printed out from a local printing company with a picture of one our apparatus or the department members on it. And this printing company usually cuts us a deal because we buy in bulk and we are a public service. After we mail them all out, we just wait for the checks to start coming back in. We get checks for over 1,000 dollars, or every a couple or few thousand dollars from the rich in our town, and even a few dollars from the poorer in our town. Every bit helps, but I do feel bad sometimes seeing the checks from the poorer residences who can only afford to give a few dollars. But we also make ourselves seen in the community year round, not just at an emergency seen, which helps greatly in this type of fundraising. We participate in all of the parades in the area, we get very involved in Fire Prevention Week, especially at the schools, we hold mock accidents during prom week at the local highschool, we hold open houses, and on Halloween we ride around as "safety" personel during trick or treat. And the community seening us out helps when it comes to donation time. We also apply for grants, and we were just recently awarded a pretty hefty one.

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    Dugdogfiredog- I belong to a company in PA also. There is a fire tax levied against every household. It is something that was voted on by the residents of the township. I would recommend looking in to it further that way you would always receive money specifically for the fire company.

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    We have bingo, 2 annual dinners and sell shirts and hats. Also do a fundraising letter once a year. That nets over $12,000 a year. We also have a reflective address sign program that's been quite sucessful.

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    Waterfights in the summer are a good way to get money. Invite all the other fire departments and have a big fight. We had two stands made that we string a cable between and then hang an empty keg on it and see who can win. We have never charged for this just doing it for fun but it would be a good way to make money. Charge a couple of bucks to get in to watch. Another town near hear does a demo derby every year. That seems to make them a lot.

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    Dunk tanks are fun. Charge a buck a ball and the option to dunk your favourite or non-favourite FF. We charge more for council members
    Great for summer fairs, yearly celebrations and demonstrations at the station.
    IACOJ
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    I am willing to learn.

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    Annual letter mailout to property owners detailing what we do all year and what the funds will be used for. Nets over $25k.

    Harley Davidson raffle, 2500 tickets, $20 a ticket. Sells out every year, nets us over $25k.

    Annual Fishing Flea Market - we sell "space" for vendors and food during the show. Nets over $4k.

    We do some other smaller things, but these are the biggies.


    Biggest advantage for us is our location, being on the ocean front with a boardwalk that attracts LOTS of visitors. Without that, we'd never do as well with the raffle. We looked at lots of others that did something similar and they all had the same problem, getting people to buy the tickets. You need a good location for that where people will see it. We are lucky enough to have that.
    "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 Mail Out

    We currently have a local "Dean of the Honors College" (at a major college), on our department. He completely changed our fundraising last year. He studied the demographics and doubled our amount of money raised. He said a mail out with a hand written signature caught the eye. People usually do not throw away something with a real signature on it. Make sure you sign in different color ink. It's a little more work but it paid off. We went from $16,000 to $36,000 or somewhere in that range. We wrote a brief catch the eye narrative at the top, then explained the purpose of the letter and how we would use the money to benefit them.

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    Default Votor Rolls

    By the way, we got a Microsoft Spreadsheet of all residents and their addresses in our county from a local politician. They usually have them, and the spreadsheet format made everything much easier.

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    Bones--talk to me about the Harley raffle. Do you just putright purchase the bike from the raffle proceeds? Or do they give you a break at the dealership?

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    2006 Raffle
    Our local dealer wanted us to purchase the bike up front with very little discount. Can't say that I blame him, he's a business man and has probably gotten burnt in the past. We found a dealer in another county that was a little more giving. Gave us a break on the price, but was willing to let us take the bike and pay for it in steps as the raffle goes on. We give him a little up front and then more as the raffle goes on. We end up paying off the bike about half way through, after that, all the money comes to us. We also include a trailer. In past years, we included an extended warranty, but this year it's a gift certificate for an equal amount instead of the warranty.
    "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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    We have carwashes once a month from May - August. We have a haunted forest in October and this year we have decided to make up some T-Shirts to sell. We usually do pretty good in our community of roughly 2000 residents. So far I would say the Haunted Forest does a great job for us every year.
    EMT-B
    Garfield Twp. Fire Department
    http://www.garfieldfire.com

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    We hold a BBQ rib and chicken feed every fall. Our town only has a population of just over 200, but we generally serve about 300 meals. Also, every year we do a letter writing campaign to the people in our coverage area, but we establish a goal for these letters, like something we need to purchase, and outline why we think it's necessary, and what it will cost. For instance, last year, we really needed to replace a brush truck. Before our letters went out, we sent a couple of letters to charitable foundations in the state requesting grant packages. These letters outlined the project, as well as budget items. Instead of grant packages, we received $15,000 from one, and $5,000 from another. We included these figures in our community letters, and just let the people in our area know how much more we needed to finish the project. This might be a little different approach, but it works for us.

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    We do a Chili Supper in the Fall and a Pancake breakfast in the Spring. The normally bring in $2000 to $3000 per event. We have a fairly small area but it helps. This year we are triing a Car show we have been told you can make between $2000 and $4000 pretty easy. I guess we will find out.

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    My department has bingo every wednesday and on average every 4-6 weeks it is a special bingo with a much higher payout that will usually double the amount of players from 50 to 60 up to about 120. We also have what we call our Annual Spring Outdoor Extravaganza which is in its 15th year now. This year is our biggest one yet with 3000 tickets sold and 101 prizes. We serve a great meal and it lasts from about 10am until about 5pm. These 2 items bring in about $120,000.00 a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmhinkle
    By the way, we got a Microsoft Spreadsheet of all residents and their addresses in our county from a local politician. They usually have them, and the spreadsheet format made everything much easier.
    Also talk to their fundraising chief for what works in your area. Talk to the elected official (US house/senate) who raises more local $ than the on that raises $ from out of state.

    For example put a return envelope in every solicitation letter. Put return postage on likely large donors, perhaps all.n People won't throw away an envelope with a stamp on it (thats the same as tossin cash). And only a lowlife would "steal" from the FD by using our envelope/stamp for sending something else. Guilt pressure. You want your prospective donor to sit down and write out a check immediately. Research/statistics confirm if not done immediately typically will never happen. You want to make it easy, no hunting for/addressing an envelope, finding a stamp, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Station580LTVFD
    These 2 items bring in about $120,000.00 a year.
    Man would I like to raise that kind of $$$. Our normal yearly budgeted income is $68,000

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