In part 1 we talked about what marketing is and the basic elements. If you missed part 1, no worries, you can catch up here.
To continue the discussion, I am a firm believer in marketing for any and all organizations – even fire and emergency service organizations.
And depending on what you look to accomplish, this doesn’t have to be expensive. Most marketing is spent on expensive advertising and trade show participation, but we can leave that for the companies with budgets and complex strategies. For fire halls I see basic trends across the board that all of us are challenged with: Recruitment and retention, and fundraising.
It’s no big mystery that if those two challenges are met, things would be better all-around for the department. Enough people to respond to challenges at all hours of the day… improved ISO rating… better community service… NFPA complaint equipment to keep members safe and an incentive for members.
Now how does marketing help with those things? Before we continue, look back at part 1 for a quick review.
Bottom line is helping and providing value for your community. Both funding and recruitment/retention benefit your community. And your community is the central point of everything.
By igniting your community… getting them to understand and then to get them involved are the first steps. That leads to community events. An open house, a demonstration, an educational program… a reason to bring them together. Once together share what you do. Educate them on the number of calls you respond to and your current membership. Show them turnout gear and SCBAs and share the expense of them. Get them to understand the value and to take a vested interest. It IS in their best interest to have a functional fire department for when their time of need might come.
By educating them and showing them the value can lead to new members who would like to be trained. It can also lead to new members who are simply support or administrative help. Or what about someone who is retired but can write? Grants, perhaps? Everyone who is willing and who has a desire to help make their community better has a place at the fire hall. You just may need to demonstrate that. Show them. Ask for what you need.
The stronger your community involvement and support, the stronger you will be as a fire department, and in turn, the stronger you will be at protecting your community. It’s relational. One feeds the other and you can’t do it successfully alone.
Keep thinking about this… jot down notes… and stay tuned for the 3rd and final post in this series. And if you can’t control it and want to jump on this immediately, send me a note and let’s chat on the phone. I can help guide you to successful marketing!