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  • fund drive letters/companys/ideas

    i was looking for ideas on what other companies do for there fund drive letter. is it down by members of the company or do you have a company do it and if so what company and price wise.. or any ideas on how to do a fund drive letter.

  • #2
    We do our own, with several of us providing input. We include a recap of the prior year, call volume, budget info--and most importantly we summarize what the prior letter's funds were used for an what needs we hope to fill with this one. One page letter with a return envelope.

    Good luck!!

    earl

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    • #3
      Originally posted by lil_will View Post
      i was looking for ideas on what other companies do for there fund drive letter. is it down by members of the company or do you have a company do it and if so what company and price wise.. or any ideas on how to do a fund drive letter.
      We always outsourced it, tried to do our own last year and went back to oursourcing again this year.

      Hope you outsource and not have you type the letter. What do you mean by "is it down by the members"? Our members are down with it, they like it!
      Steve Dragon
      FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
      Volunteers are never "off duty".
      http://www.bufd7.org

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      • #4
        sorry mistype meant to say done by who do you outsource it through?

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        • #5
          Be careful when choosing to outsource your primary fundraising letter. It becomes very apparent that some places use a template format and fill in the blanks with your town name and department name. This lacks the one to one contact you want to make with your customers.
          Ask them what their response rate of return is as a judge of the quality of their writing begging letters.

          We average about a 47 % return rate with ours.
          A letter put together with the local high-lites and town activities will bring more responses.
          You need to connect at a personal level with the members of "YOUR" community to entice them to pull out their checkbooks.

          We produce ours in house with several members of our board of directors involved. They get the facts of our years activities from us and highlight new equipment purchased or specialized training accomplished. We try to briefly explain the cost of maintaining readiness to respond day or night to their emergencies..

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          • #6
            How do you handle the bulk rate or stamping?

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            • #7
              We don't send enough to qualify for bulk rate, so we buy pre-stamped envelopes from the USPO, our Township Trustee provides the address labels run from her property tax list. The return envelope is just a small white envelope with the department address applied with a rubber stamp. We used to pre-stamp the return envelope but when we stopped doing that the returns (around 45%) didn't fall off at all--dollar amounts actually increased a tick.

              Local production, but make sure you get good proofreading. Takes a little effort to do in-house but i think it's good for the community and for the department.

              earl

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              • #8
                We are fortunate enough to have an auxiliary that takes care of the rubber stamping, stuffing, and sorting of the envelopes. We have 7 different post offices that these "boxholder" envelopes have to go to. So they have to be counted out for each of them. We send out around 4000 letters that the president of the department types up.

                We were in severe financial troubles 4 years ago when this auxiliary was formed. Not one of the firefighters wives are members of our auxiliary, and I feel it reduces the amount of bickering that can go on within a group like that. Anyhow, it was determined that if each residence were to donate $25 to our department each year, it would cover our operating costs. We began offering a free reflective house number road sign for anyone donating $40 or more to our fund drive. we still only receive about a 20% response, but about half of those donating are taking advantage of the sign offer and many of them are sending more than the requested $40. We have a local individual make the signs for around $10 each. We feel it has been successful. Fund drive rate used to be less than 15%.

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                • #9
                  Fundraising

                  For the FD, in the community I live in, we send an annual appeal letter immediately after the Thanksgiving weekend.

                  We assembled a list of addresses from the county tax roll records, past donees and residents that rent in the community (live here but do not pay property tax). This list is updated about every year.

                  We find that sending out the letters immediately after the Thanksgiving weekend the best. That time is the time that people are in the holiday giving spirit and the time that people sit down with their check book to pay the monthly bills anyway. Of course, we do recieve donations other times of the year from that letter, too.

                  Our FD has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, so we emphasize that in the letter. We give the yearly runs (fires, MVA's, etc.), the fire loss so far that year and other activities we conducted. That may include duty for flooding, severe weather spotting, etc. We also tell of how some of their donations were spent from the previous appeal (list the item and cost of equipment, etc.)

                  Our appeal letter is comprised of two parts: The first is the appeal letter, which is one page and a second page, that is a donation response form.

                  The appeal letter lists a non-emergency phone number, in case someone has questions. The donation response form asks if they would be willing to join the FD. Since we are contacting people, we think it would be a good idea to use it for recruiting, too. We also offer an option on the form to request a copy of our yearly financial statement. We believe in letting people know about our FD's finances.

                  Sometimes, we offer gifts for the donors, too. We offer a "(year) supporter of the "Anytown Fire Department" card. The donor can display this to indicate they donated to the FD. We hope some day to offer a calender instead. We also have offered rural address signs. We got a good blanket of signs placed throughout the community when we first offered it.

                  While there are many ways that you can request money, I find it best to tell the community about the services you offer, that funding is needed to continue the service and if a volunteer department, volunteers doanate their time to make it happen.

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                  • #10
                    I have also found that one of the best times to solicit a donation is while installing a smoke detector and doing a courtesy home saftey inspection as part of a Fire Prevention Grant effort. Leaving a self addressed donation envelope, with the FPS literature emphasizing that donations are used to further efforts to the community such as the smoke detector program they just availed themselves of, often leads to improved donation levels.
                    Kurt Bradley
                    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
                    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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                    • #11
                      All of the above are great ideas. We have done most of them at various times.

                      We also send ours out for mid November, just as the holiday spirit is approaching, but before they spend all their $$ shopping. We also find that some of the businesses will make larger donations towards the end of the year as their accountants tell them to give some charitable money away for tax purposes.

                      This year we have funding from SAFER to produce and mail out a R&R brochure, so we combined that with our appeal letter in the same envelope . This has brought a great response so far.

                      We use a list of names pulled from both property owners and voter registration to make our address labels from. A personalized letter does better than a "Boxholder" address, when it comes to people reading them. It doesn't look like spam mail that way. We also have our dept. logo printed on the envelopes.

                      We have a local printing company do all the printing , the letter , the mailing envelopes, the return envelopes, & they do a nice thank you card that we send out to ALL donors after receiving their checks.
                      Donations over $250.00 get a personal thank you letter from the president of the BOD.

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                      • #12
                        I designed a "Firefighter Gift" program brochure and the local print class at the state prison printed them for free. The paper was donated by a well known paper manufacturer that is in the area. Whenever we do a call, we leave a brochure. Fires, accidents or good intent calls.

                        Some city people maintain a residence here and they aways have a fire alarm go off when they open for the summer. This year we tossed them a "Firefighter Gift" brochure and they sent in $250!

                        Another case a gentleman asked us to help him with his insurance company, as they had doubled his premium based on some bogus ISO info. Stuffed a copy of our "Firefighter Gift" brochure in his copy of the response we sent to his agent, and he sent us $100.

                        Brian

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