Fire Department Fundraiser Ideas
Volunteer fire departments and volunteer EMS teams in rural areas don’t always receive the funding much larger municipality departments do. Sometimes they may run short on funding needed to maintain their equipment and supplies. Fundraising is pretty much the norm for these smaller organizations. Coming up with new and fun ideas for a fire department fundraiser can be a challenge. Sometimes you have the same individuals running the fundraiser and things can get a little stale. There are many ways for a fire department to fundraise and here are some of the best fire department fundraiser ideas.
10 Ideas for your next fundraiser
- Fill the boot: This is as simple as picking a location in the community and asking for donations. Typically, you will want to find a busy enough street to allow for ample traffic, but not too much as to disrupt the daily commute of citizens.
- Pancake Breakfast or Chicken-Q: These two are simple enough and easy high profit fundraisers. Make it pandemic friendly by offering drive through service. Some volunteers will need to be present to cook and handle packaging the food, but usually the commitment is to one day instead of a long drawn out process. West Salem Fire Department recently held a Chicken-Q sold over 700 dinners in 3 hours and also raised $300 by offering an online donation option through their custom URL with Donatezilla.
- Raffles: This is a popular fundraiser for Fire Departments and EMS teams in the Midwest. Finding a local business to donate or sell an item like a boat, ATV or gun at a reduced or zero cost is the first step. Then there are weeks of promoting the raffle online and at various businesses. There is a bit of a time commitment for this fundraiser, but this could fund the department for a year off the profits.
- Tournaments: Hosting a fishing or cornhole tournament or league can be a big money maker. This one takes some planning depending on the type of tournament. Cornhole tournaments are easy to set up and quick to run. Fishing tournaments can be a little more difficult.
- Car wash: This is an old school concept, but can bring in huge profits if done correctly. This one is pretty simple and straight forward so no need for details here.
- Calendars: Tasteful pictures of your favorite fire man or EMS Team member on a calendar that can be given out to patrons for a donation. A calendar sale can be combined with other fundraising efforts for even more profit or as a Thank you for donating.
- Sporting events: Having the fire department members challenge a local high school sports team to a match with the proceeds benefiting the school and the department can be a huge community engagement effort as well as a fundraiser. Community members pay to enter the game just as they would any other sporting event. Having fun on the court or field is what it is all about.
- Cookbook: Similar to the calendars idea but instead you collect favorite recipes and creating a cookbook to offer at various events is another sweet idea. You will probably want to pick a theme for the cookbook and stick to that as close as possible. Getting secret family recipes could be a challenge, but if they know it is going for a good cause shouldn’t be an issue.
- Parade bingo: If your community has a summer festival this is a novel idea where the department paints/chalks squares on the street just before a parade. Then sells squares for a chance to win the jackpot. The winner is the first square in which a cow pie has landed. This could be any animal in the parade of course.
- Chili/BBQ Cookoff: This one has become popular in recent years. Getting other local businesses and civic groups to participate in a cookoff to see who has bragging rights for the year. This one is simple and just needs a little organization to get started. Finding groups to participate can be a challenge, but often a trophy and bragging rights for the year make up for it.
All of these fire department fundraising ideas are unique and can be implemented fairly easily and quickly. They may take a little organizing and prep, but should not be too difficult to work through. Adding an online donation platform can help increase awareness and profits. Not everyone is going to be able to attend a fundraising event and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity for an individual to support their local department. Making sure you share your event and donation page on social media is equally important, this will maximize your reach. More about marketing your fundraiser in another post.