Fundraising With Your Fire Department’s LED Sign
Fire Departments are a pillar of the community. Communities depend on Fire Departments to communicate important messages that keep people safe and grow awareness of important safety concerns including emergency messaging. Unfortunately, funds are almost always limited for Fire Departments. Fundraising is often the only way Fire Departments can obtain important funds to continue to provide their services to the community. However, community firefighters are not always well versed in the many effective options available for fundraising initiatives today. So, in an effort to help with this problem, we have compiled the following 5 tips. Each of these represents a great strategy, proven to work for effective fundraising with an outdoor LED sign.
#1: Just ask!
It seems like a no brainer, and it sort of is, but many people find explicitly asking for a donation embarrassing or overly aggressive. Forget about it! It is not embarrassing or odd, or inappropriate for a Fire Department to request aid from their community in any way they can. If you have an online donation system in place, definitely add that info to your sign. Ask people to donate what they feel comfortable with. Attach the requested funds to an end goal that the funds will assist with. This way, the community will be able to donate with confidence. For example, if the Fire Department needs new equipment like a new truck, hoses, etc, then let the people know that’s what you are shooting for. If people know about your needs and can relate them to something clear and tangible, then they will be much more likely to generously give.
#2: Use local businesses.
You can guide people to local restaurants, retail shops, auto centers, etc with your LED sign. You might think this is a chance for corruption or conflict of interest to arise, but in reality, a considerable donation from a local business can be promoted on the sign to encourage others in the community to donate. At the same time, promoting donations from local businesses provides the local business with highly valuable marketing. Organize your slides or “slots” on the sign so there are 7-8 slots of 7-8 seconds per minute. This method allows you to have up to 8 different business donors on the same loop. You can sell slots for donations this way and still have room to keep the donor list growing!
#3: Meet Santa!
Families with kids love holidays obviously. But have you considered the value a holiday event could hold for your fire department’s fundraising? Use your LED sign to promote events like meet Santa, visit a haunted house, or have an easter egg hunt at the Fire Station. Start promoting your event regularly on the LED sign at least 30 days from the event. Use colors related to the holiday in question and highlight activities and attractions for children. Promote early bird pricing for those who purchase tickets ahead of time. You can also use the local business strategies seen above as part of holiday events. Have local businesses donate to sponsor meeting Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the main attraction of any kind at any holiday event.
#4: Community Car Wash
LED signs speak to drivers all day every day. Use this to your fire department’s fundraising advantage! Imagine community members driving by your LED sign in their dirty cars for 2, 3, 4, 5 days straight and every time the sign advertises a charity car wash event for the fire department. They will show up! Make sure you price local car wash services so your price can be just slightly lower per car/truck/SUV etc. Don’t sell yourself short. You can also pair with locals to assist with the car wash and offer them special rewards for helping. For example, a guided tour of the Fire Station along with a meet and greet with the fire chief himself! You can even have people compete to win such prizes or privileges and they will definitely be more likely to donate.
#5: Food Events Work
Who doesn’t like food!? You can advertise pot lucks, or community BBQ events with your programmable LED sign. So, why not do it regularly? It is a great way to bring awareness to the needs of the Fire Department, but also to raise funds and educate the public at the same time. The visuals and words associated with food events are enough to stick in anyone’s mind. Be sure to note that if you are selling food, make sure you announce the exact food and why it is special on the LED sign. For example, if it is a BBQ, note how long the beef or pork or chicken will be smoked, and with what type of wood. This gets BBQ lovers excited about your event! Use timing as well. For example, during the week leading up to the BBQ or food event, fill all lunch hours with food-related messaging about the event on the LED sign. This is when people are thinking of food and they will remember your event this way for sure.