NVFC Earns Top ASAE Honors for the Make Me A Firefighter Program

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has earned the 2017 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Power of A Summit Award for its Make Me A Firefighter program, the first-ever national recruitment and retention campaign designed to increase the number of volunteer firefighters across the U.S.

ASAE honored the NVFC’s program for its groundbreaking work to improve staffing, deploy capabilities, and provide adequate fire protection to residents. Volunteers make up 70 percent of the U.S. fire service, and 85 percent of the nation’s fire departments are all or mostly volunteers. Yet many local departments are struggling to meet staffing needs as call volumes continue to increase and less new recruits are joining their local department. Few volunteer departments have the resources and expertise to create and implement an effective recruitment and retention campaign.

Thanks to support from a federal SAFER grant, the NVFC is working to meet this critical need through its Make Me A Firefighter campaign. The campaign provides a ready-to-use program that departments can customize for their local communities to help increase their numbers of volunteers. The campaign also helps department reach under-represented audiences, including millennials, women, and minorities. In addition, the NVFC is conducting an extensive and multi-faceted national awareness campaign to let the public know of the need for fire service volunteers and that they can help fulfill this need.

“Congratulations to the NVFC for their initiative that saves lives and property, as well as provides individuals with an opportunity to make a difference every day,” said Sharon J. Swan, FASAE, CAE, chief executive officer of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and chair of the Power of A Awards Judging Committee. “Their initiative exemplifies how we work best when we work together and how associations have a positive influence on our everyday lives in every way.”

The Make Me A Firefighter campaign was built on extensive market research, which identified the traits and characteristics of those who volunteer, the interest levels of prospective volunteers, and the best messages to reach target audiences based on this information. The cornerstones of the campaign are a web site at www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org, where prospective volunteers can connect with their local department, and a portal at http://portal.nvfc.org, where fire departments can post their volunteer opportunities, create and customize recruitment materials, learn proven strategies to attract volunteers, manage the recruitment process, and more.

“All too often volunteer departments work on their own and with extremely limited resources to recruit and retain new volunteers. This program alleviates the need for individual fire departments to create their own recruitment program and generates greater awareness across the country for the need for volunteers through a single, recognizable brand,” said NVFC chair Kevin D. Quinn.

The NVFC is one of six associations to receive the 2017 Power of A Summit Award. In addition, 23 association programs were recognized with the Power of A Gold Award and 32 associations received the Power of A Silver Award. The Power of A Awards are the highest honors in the association industry and recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national, and global level. ASAE created the Power of A Awards to showcase how associations leverage their unique resources to solve problems, advance industry/professional performance, kick-start innovation, and improve world conditions. The recipients of the Summit Award will be recognized at a special dinner in Washington, DC, in October.

Learn more about the awards at www.ThePowerOfA.org/awards.