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    Default Recruitment Ideas

    My dept. is located in a suburban area with alot of business/professional types. Our members are not any of these types. We are cops, plumbers, HVAC repair, nurses, etc. Blue collar types among white collar who dont wish to vol. Any tips to get people to join? I have looked at alot so far, would like some more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doublej986
    My dept. is located in a suburban area with alot of business/professional types. Our members are not any of these types. We are cops, plumbers, HVAC repair, nurses, etc. Blue collar types among white collar who dont wish to vol. Any tips to get people to join? I have looked at alot so far, would like some more.
    We're in a similar environment. From what I can tell there are a decent number of "white collar" types that have thought about volunteering, but get tied up in their day to day that they don't follow through. I've talked to a few people at open houses who have told me that they've had the filled out application on their desk for two months, but haven't had a chance to drop it off.

    I think the key part is to keep people engaged throughout the process. If someone shows interest, invite them to the firehouse, have them meet other members, maybe have them participate in the drill. Basically "get them hooked" early in the process so they are motivated to complete it. The last thing you want to do is hand them an application and have them disappear.

    Also, sometimes "like recruits like". Have your members actively recruit their friends and coworkers. If you have members that are from a "white collar" background, have them recruit their cubemates. Sometimes hearing it from "One of their own" makes it more desireable.. "I used to be like you, going home and watching TV all night. Now I get to do this really cool training and take part in the communty." Also talk directly with the businesses. Ask if you can put a flyer up on their bulleten board, or set up a recruitment table in their cafeteria.

    As far as recruitment tips, just get your departments name out there. Go to community events with the truck and a sign, handouts, applications. Have Open Houses. We'll go to Home Depot for an hour or so on a Saturday mornign and hand out flyers. I know in our area most people don't realize our department has volunteers.

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    Also, you might try placing an ad or article of some kind in neighborhood association newsletters. I'm a part of my department's recruitment/retainment committee and we did that and have had people showing interest as a result. A lot of neighborhood associations will allow the article or ad to be run for free if they usually charge, if you explain what you're trying to do, and if you're a non-profit (which we, as a combination paid/vol dept are), you can point that out too. If you want some examples, let me know and I can show you what we did that worked for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandbass
    Also, you might try placing an ad or article of some kind in neighborhood association newsletters. I'm a part of my department's recruitment/retainment committee and we did that and have had people showing interest as a result. A lot of neighborhood associations will allow the article or ad to be run for free if they usually charge, if you explain what you're trying to do, and if you're a non-profit (which we, as a combination paid/vol dept are), you can point that out too. If you want some examples, let me know and I can show you what we did that worked for us.
    Sandbass, I'll take any help I can get. We have lost over 20 members in about 18 months. My email is devolachief@suddenlinkmail.com

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    Recruiting uses the same principles as marketing any product.

    1. Understand your product. As a fire department, what do you have offer people? What do you have that will want them to join? What are the rewards (see Maslov's)? What are your incentives within the department?

    2. Look at your community. Find places where you are likely to find people who are looking for what your fire department offers them. Target these folks and locations in your recruitment. Target specific messages to the specific audiences. For example .. target the physical aspects of firefighting to athetletes and workout type folks. If you are looking for seniors for support programs .. target the social aspects, etc, etc. In addition to specific messages for specific target audiences also uses general messages and media for the others in the community that may be interested.

    3. Use your media. Look at all the possible ways of getting your messages out in your communities. Posters, lawn signs, flyers, articles and ads in community newspapers, programs or flash messages on local access TV, messages on bags of local businesses, presentations to church, community and civic groups, booths at local events, schools or colleges, message boards in front of your station or maybe a local church or business ...... Basically the list is endless. Use the media to target both your target audiences and general audiences.

    4. Coordination. This is critical. People will need to see your message often. The key to advertising is repitition, and recruiting is no different. If they see your message 5 times a days via lawn signs on the roads, a poster at the grocery store, a flash message on local access TV and the sign in front of your station, they are more likely to consider joining than if they see your message infrequently. This is why effective recruiting requires planning and coordination..... it has to be seen often to be effective.

    5.Timing. People will shut out messages if they see them for too long a time. Recruiting pushes need to be brief ... 2-3 weeks at the most. In can be done multiple times in a year, but try to change stuff up. Maybe the articles will take a little different twist ... the posters will be at a different location ... the presenters on the local access program will be different.

    6. Followup. Quickly respond to applications. Have training in place and asheduled to start. Have informational packets printed. Have introductory meetings. Make it seem like you ar anxious to get them involved.

    7. Have opportunities for someone who does not want to fight fires. There is a huge chunk of the community that may not want to be firefighters, but may be able to contribute in other ways. Scene support, educators for pubed, fundraising help, administrative help, PR help, planning help, at-scene management help, photographers and even folks to watch the members kids at the station while the members are at calls or training are all avenues that your department may be able to offer someone who wants to volunteer. Don't shut them out just because they don't want to be firefighters .. give them avenues to assist!

    To many departments approach recruiting in a HAP-HAZARD FASHION. This will
    definatly result in failure. Use the same approaches to market your department as the experts do ..it's the same thing.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me a my e-mail, firesafetyed@aol.com

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