By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
The job market, depending upon where your department is located, has become very competitive–for the employers. For volunteer departments, their very survival is dependent upon their ability to recruit new members to maintain their ability to provide services.
Recently, I was a vendor at the West Virginia Public Safety Expo in Charleston, WV promoting our product, the “Fully Involved” Home Safe Teaching System. During one of my breaks, I stopped by the firefighter recruitment booth for the Charleston Fire Department and picked up one of their recruitment brochures.
Now I’m not “picking on” CFD’s brochure because I’ve seen many other similar to it over the years…I just happened to pick this one up at a time when my “blogging brain” was ready to engage the topic.
So I made up this short slideshow with some ideas on how their brochure, and any department’s that looks like it, can be improved to better attract potential employees or members.
Golden Colorado Fire Department Volunteer Recruitment Video
Speaking of volunteers, here’s a great recruitment and marketing video from the Boulder (CO) Fire Department, that I came across while researching this piece. As I wrote in the slideshow, your marketing materials should highlight your people and the great work that they are doing and this video certainly does that. Just as importantly are the testimonials from current members of all ranks within the department. (Marketing professionals are in agreement that testimonials from satisfied customers or employees are one of the most effective marketing tools available to an organization).
Looking for help in developing such recruiting media for your volunteer or career department, but don’t have the people or funding to do so? Check out my recent blog on Fire Corps for ideas on how you can solve that problem.
Austin Fire Department’s “Firefighting Females”
Looking to bring more women into your fire service organization? Take a look at how the Austin (TX) Fire Department took their “mission” to a higher level by focusing on women in their department–there’s the testimonial thing at work again!–in the following video:
Getting their attention and creating a desire to “use” your product are key tenants of marketing whether you’re selling soap or an opportunity to serve your community as a volunteer or career firefighter.
Make Sure You Have a Good Website
Check out the Firefighter Recruitment Information page on the Seattle Fire Department’s website. I think it’s a good example the type of page that should complement your marketing materials with additional information.