I typically reserve my commentary type articles for my flagship site but I think it’s appropriate to divest from that practice for the purpose of this post.
The following article tells of a small city that is threatening to stop collecting a voluntary public donation that has brought thousands and thousands of dollars in mission-critical equipment to their combination (paid/volunteer) fire department.
Apparently, the threat is in response to a dwindling number of volunteer firefighters in their department, between 5 and 10, as the article points out. Without a lot of volunteers, they apparently don’t feel it’s appropriate to collect a donation on behalf of the volunteer side of their fire department. This situation seems to be causing quite a riff in the department.
Is it just me, or does any one else smell opportunity?
You say you don’t have enough volunteers? Here’s an idea, take those donations and invest them in a VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN!!!!
As I’ve spoke and written of many times before, why is it that we spend the thousands and sometimes millions of dollars to support the inanimate objects of our jobs that are entirely useless without the proper quantity and quality of firefighters to operate them?
While we acknowledge that 95% of the challenges we face are back at the firehouse — not on the fire scene, we invest our time, energy and MONEY in the exact opposite proportion.
I haven’t found a fire department yet that reinvests as much as 1% of their total operating budget back into the one asset required to make all of those other resources work.
And we wonder why, as the chief of this department is so quick to point out, that: “It’s not like anyone is beating down the door to be a [volunteer] firefighter.”
Many chiefs would give their right arm to benefit from the sweetheart donation progam they have so smartly established. They just need to make the right investments.
Read this news story. Wake up and smell the opportunity.
Invest in your people. Now, before it’s too late.