The Force Can Be With You
“Don’t forget that the police and firefighters are a paramilitary organization,” says Robert Leonard, executive vice president of the Dan Klores Communications Group, which represents The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. “Do not violate the sacred chain of command. You must follow that chain and start at the top. If you start at the bottom, you could run into a problem.”
Leonard, who has been a volunteer firefighter for 18 years, points out that garnering the support of a local firehouse can be especially powerful.
“Unlike police officers, who can sometimes [be perceived as taking] away your rights, firefighters have a tremendous halo affect,” he says. “People are rarely unhappy with firefighters, and having them on board for a cause can be very powerful. The community thinks that if the cause is good enough for firemen, it must be a good cause.”
Police officers and firefighters don’t always see themselves as heroes, but they certainly understand the value of giving their time and efforts. This can make them a tremendous resource for fundraising efforts.
Christine Weiser is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and publisher of Philadelphia Stories, a nonprofit literary-arts publication.