The Force Can Be With You
Long before 9/11, firefighters and police officers were considered heroes. And they should be. Consider these statistics from the National Volunteer Fire Council:
- Volunteer rescue workers comprise 73 percent of firefighters in the United States.
- Communities served by volunteer firefighters depend on them to be their first line of defense for many types of emergencies.
- Services contributed by volunteer firefighters save localities across the country an estimated $37.2 billion each year.
Their brothers and sisters in the police force are also putting their lives on the line every day. The average police officer makes just $46,290 (www.salary.com) working long hours in environments that can be cold, hot, wet — and dangerous.
Police officers and firefighters are natural givers, and the right approach can encourage their powerful support of your charity.
Working together to rescue victims and protect the community in potentially dangerous situations creates a unique, strong bond among police officers and firefighters.
“Police officers are fiercely loyal to their police ‘family,’ their jobs and their communities,” says Scott Wood, director of annual giving for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “They have been extremely loyal to the memorial. They hold their fallen brothers and sisters in the highest regard, and honoring and remembering them is extremely important.
“Our mission is to generate increased public support for the law enforcement profession by appropriately commemorating the sacrifice of law enforcement officers,” Wood continues. “We talk about the things that matter to them and what our programs and mission are.”
Wood points out that there is no unifying demographic for this community. Police officers come from all geographic and socio-economic spectrums, so reaching out with big campaigns can be a challenge.
“Probably the most significant challenge we face is that there is no central database or list of all law enforcement officers in the country,” Wood says. “It is difficult to ensure that we are getting our message out to the entire community.”