2012 Fire Prevention Week “Have 2 Ways Out” is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, October 7—13. There are many ideas and products at www.fpw.org to help your department participate. Below is some of the material about fundraising.

Develop a winning team with local sponsors

With fire departments facing dramatic budget cuts across the country, purchasing the necessary materials to teach communities life-saving fire safety lessons can be tough. Local business leaders are important to a successful public safety campaign. Enhance your community’s experience – and increase awareness of life-saving information – by creating a visible role for local sponsors. Save time! Download the sample fundraising letter (from the Fundraising page at www.fpw.org), put it on your fire department letterhead, and fill in the blanks for a ready-to-use fundraising appeal.

Start with a plan

Develop a list of potential sponsors and/or participants. Consider businesses large and small; professional offices and agencies; retail stores; contractors; municipal buildings; leagues; etc. Don’t overlook any potential sponsors/partners, and especially concentrate on those associated with safety, such as insurance agencies, medical clinics, real estate brokers, and chimney sweeps.

Go high profile

If you live in an area with a major sports team, include them on your list and consider ways the players can be part of your campaign. Choose appropriate role models when working with sports figures and bear in mind they will have limited time to participate. If you want to have a player serve as a spokesperson, you’ll need to work with their agent and to write “talking points” for them so they’ll know what to say about the campaign.

Where´s the money?

While a funding sponsor is ideal, providing you with the financial resources with which you can purchase materials you need for your campaign, other roles are equally necessary. In-kind donations are very helpful (food and drinks for open houses; paper and pens for school projects; duplication and printing). Participation without funding is also necessary, as local businesses can be instrumental in building awareness of your campaign and safety messages by simply hanging up the official FPW Banner or Poster, or by handing out safety brochures or flyers. Develop a budget for your campaign and a “wish list” of supplies, refreshments, and fire safety materials that you need. Keep track of all participants and plan to send thank-you letters to all who helped you, so you can ask them again next time.

It pays to ask

Start with individuals you know first, as it will be easier to talk with them and ask for their help. Consider drafting a letter for some potential sponsors and for all, be specific about what you need and be clear that they will receive prominent credit for sponsorship. Help them understand why fire safety is important and how the campaign positively affects your community’s well being.

How sponsors can support FPW

In addition to being clear about what you want to receive from potential sponsors, listen carefully to what they want to give. They may offer something you hadn’t thought of, but is a great addition to your campaign. Be flexible and open-minded, and graciously accept what they can provide.

  • Hang the official FPW banner and poster in offices, windows and outside storefronts.
  • Pass out FPW brochures and home escape plan grids (PDF, 632 KB) to customers, clients, etc.
  • Display the banner and posters in the workplace and provide employees with fire safety brochures and stickers as well as other items for their children. Team up with large employers to hold a safety fair or fire safety day and provide a life-size Sparky the Fire Dog to hand out brochures, batteries and inexpensive flashlights along with safety brochures.

Donate prizes for fire department open houses, safety days, and in classroom presentations. Some prize ideas: gift certificates at restaurants, hair cuts, pet food, tickets to local sporting events, new sneakers, an oil change, a bag of coffee beans. Don’t forget home fire safety products, such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Donate products and materials that can be used throughout your campaign. Ask your local bottling company to provide cases of soda pop and barrels to fill with ice (suggest they put their name on the barrels). Ask grocery stores to provides hamburgers, hot dogs, and buns so firefighters can grill food at open houses and safety fairs. Ask local hardware stores to donate batteries and smoke alarms so you can demonstrate to adults how important they are and how to install and use them. Donate money so the fire department can purchase FPW banners to hang at key intersections in town, and posters for all the schools, and educational materials to increase understanding of fire safety in your community. Local radio and TV stations can donate airtime when they will announce your campaign and activities. Other ways to help include providing you with station personalities who can participate to help draw a crowd, or to help you fund-raise. Newspapers and local magazines
can donate space to run PSAs

Reproduced from NFPA’s website, © NFPA 2012