Have you created a Wish List? Promote it now!
If you have created a registry on Sparky's Wish List, now is the time to start promoting it. NFPA provides a toolkit to help build support. It features tips, tools and resources for conducting outreach and includes actual documents you can customize to distribute to businesses, schools and the general community.
Develop a winning team with local sponsors
With fire departments facing dramatic budget cuts across the country, purchasing the necessary materials to teach communities life-saving fire safety lessons can be tough. Local business leaders are important to a successful public safety campaign. Enhance your community's experience – and increase awareness of life-saving information – by creating a visible role for local sponsors.
Save time! Download this sample fundraising letter (doc, 26 KB), put it on your fire department letterhead, and fill in the blanks for a ready-to-use fundraising appeal.
Start with a plan
Develop a list of potential sponsors and/or participants. Consider businesses large and small; professional offices and agencies; retail stores; contractors; municipal buildings; leagues; etc. Need ideas? Think about the people with whom you do business: who works on your car, handles plumbing problems, cuts your hair, prints your stationery; your doctor, lawyer, accountant, architect; where you buy your groceries, furniture, hardware; where you get your clothes dry-cleaned, your pet groomed, your prescriptions filled. Be creative. Don't overlook any potential sponsors/partners, and especially concentrate on those associated with safety, such as insurance agencies, medical clinics, real estate brokers, and chimney sweeps.
Go high profile
If you live in an area with a major sports team, include them on your list and consider ways the players can be part of your campaign. Choose appropriate role models when working with sports figures and bear in mind they will have limited time to participate. Know also that team logos are proprietary and you must ask for permission before incorporating them into your materials. If you want to have a player serve as a spokesperson, you'll need to work with their agent and to write "talking points" for them so they'll know what to say about the campaign.
Where´s the money?
While a funding sponsor is ideal, providing you with the financial resources with which you can purchase materials you need for your campaign, other roles are equally necessary. In-kind donations are very helpful (food and drinks for open houses; paper and pens for school projects; duplication and printing). Participation without funding is also necessary, as local businesses can be instrumental in building awareness of your campaign and safety messages by simply hanging up the official FPW Banner or Poster, or by handing out safety brochures or flyers.
Develop a budget for your campaign and a "wish list" of supplies, refreshments, and fire safety materials that you need. Think through ways you can provide credit to your sponsors for their help, such as by adding their logos to your handout materials and in your press releases. Keep track of all participants and plan to send thank-you letters to all who helped you, so you can ask them again next time.
It pays to ask
Start with individuals you know first, as it will be easier to talk with them and ask for their help. Consider drafting a letter for some potential sponsors and for all, be specific about what you need and be clear that they will receive prominent credit for sponsorship. Help them understand why fire safety is important and how the campaign positively affects your community's well being. Be prepared to answer questions about the ways in which their funding will be used, why handout brochures and other materials are important, etc. Finally, help potential sponsors see how their participation in this North American campaign is an opportunity for them to be viewed publicly as a good corporate citizen.
How sponsors can support FPW
In addition to being clear about what you want to receive from potential sponsors, listen carefully to what they want to give. They may offer something you hadn't thought of, but is a great addition to your campaign. Be flexible and open-minded, and graciously accept what they can provide.