So what is everybodies ideas for getting new members and keeping the members that you have?

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Wish I knew, but I will be watching this forum post to get ideas.
Do you think company parties or Novelty items are helping in any way
It isn't a bad idea, but I don't think that will pull new members in, more like keep the brotherhood strong amongst whom you already have. Word of mouth from your own membership is usually our best recruitment tool. Treat the folks well in house, they spread the word
Yes word of mouth and Fair Treatment is a big reason for people to join and stay.
I agree that word of mouth is one of many great approaches. After all, nothing breeds success like success itself.

However, this subject is not a simple 5 minute discussion by any stretch. Visit my profile page to read some articles I've published on the subject.

Let me know what you think. Let me know how I can help.
PAY!!! That is the single most important issue...in paid depts. anyway......not sure about vol. depts.
I'm a driver/operator for a municipal fire dept. in Louisiana of close to 50 employees. Until just recently we were at the bottom in the whole state for pay. With an entry level FF starting out at 5.15 per hour...which came to just under 15,000 per year. So needless to say...hiring quality people and keeping them has been next to impossible. It has improved lately with one raise and another to occur in October. Don't get me wrong...I'm glad to be getting the money....just think it's funny that it's coinciding with federal minimum wage going up.
Anyway...paid depts. have to remain competitive or you just keep losing people to area depts. that pay better. We also run an ALS Ambulance service within our dept......we are all cross trained in EMS...and continue to do our job well despite the pay issues and our revolving door.
Thought I would resurrect this thread by posting a link to this story:
http://firechief.com/news/Volunteer_act_12192007/
I like the idea of tax breaks, but the world we live in today, especially with the younger set is disposable income; the here and now.
Motivation for this job has changed. Opinions about it have changed. The people involved in it have changed.
Change isn't all bad, but when the reward for doing something such as volunteering becomes self serving, then that type of change will destroy volunteerism.
IMHO.
I think this is a good step toward helping volunteer fire and EMS personnel.

The only question I have is: HOW does it help volunteer fire and EMS personnel?

Specifically, how does this help me? I don't get paid a penny for any of my contributions to my department. I do claim mileage on my income tax return, plus whatever equipment I've purchased on my own. I estimate 1500 to 2000 miles per year for calls, drills, meetings and so forth. No chief/assistant chief stipends either.

I also get mileage reimbursement for my work as County Deputy Coordinator, when I turn in mileage and cell phone receipts. But that's reimbursement, not income.

I don't get it. This must be for paid-on call volunteers.

Unless we're all going to get raises next year. No, wait... nothing times something is still nothing...

Can someone explain the rationale behind this bill?
There are places that provide incentives such as retirement plans or minimal pay. This bill benefits them. For example, my department gets paid for call and training hours... If you can really call it pay. We have a certain amount budgeted for the year, and each quarter the total hours are divided into a 1/4 of the budgeted amount... Hence, the more calls there are, the more training opportunities there are, and the more firefighters that show up, the lower the rate of pay. We had a big recruitment drive a couple years ago and our membership numbers are, so our "paychecks" are down - often in the $2/hr range. That is A OK with me, as I obviously (at that rate) don't do it for the money. The feds were getting their cut of my whopping $2/hr and now they won't!

As for those who get no compensation at all - It won't help - Sorry!
I live in the biggest city in the state. and when they were recruiting some firefighters from the city were going out handing flyers out and posting them in areas of interest. It was very succesful and over 3000 took the test. I think it should start at the high school level to all seniors on a career day.

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