I am wondering if other departments have any incentive programs to get less active members involved, or for the department as a whole. Do any of you get reimbursement for calls, year end payments based on attendance, etc?

Any comments would be welcome. This came up at our last meeting and some ideas were floated but I thought I would see what else is out there.

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Maybe I've been lucky because the volunteer agency I belonged to never had a problem getting people to turn up to training- we had 100 members and an everage training night would see 30 people turn up!

As for incentives, do we need them? I would have thought (this is the logical part of my brain!) that the chance to learn something that's going to save my life is a good enoigh incentive!!!!

Maybe instead, the department needs to look at their training and meetings-
* Are they structured meetings or just a chat session?
* How oftendo you meet? (Is it too often, not often enough?)
* Who does the training? (The same old instructor can get boring after a while)
* What topics are being trained? (The same stuff can get a bit monotonous)

There's gotta be some factors contributing to this- what do the members who are NOT turning up saying to you?
We meet twice a month. One meeting is mostly the business meeting. The other meeting is supposed to be our training and/or work night. The training history hasn't been all that great as far as I have been told, having no real trainings, or lack of organized, hands on trainings. A lot of older guys come to see what's going on, but then might leave instead of staying for the training, and some guys (old or new) simply don't show up regularly at all. This is a new situation for me as well, because on all the departments I have been on in the past the overwhelming majority of volunteers showed up for every regular training night, and meeting night without fail. When I was training officer at my last department I made sure there were lots of hands on trainings, and development competitions. This kept the guys invovled and interested. Even the older guys who couldn't partcipate as much would find interest in this. I can see how these things could help here, but I still think we are in for a long process of getting guys to show up regularly. Of course I am just new to this department and am a probie (Again) and even with 10 years of experience so I don't a lot of influence yet.
If your people are not showing up then maybe they are in the Department for the wrong reason...they may see it as a" social club" and not as a Fire Company...We started a point system a couple of years ago and you are supposed to make a certain number of points per year....if you don't then the executive board may choose to act....being on the roster doesn't do anyone any good if you either don't show up or you don't know the job when called to do it...As for offering Money....I for one find that insulting....I didn't join the Department for the pay....I joines to try and help and maybe make a difference...Sounds to me like your people need a wake up call.....Hate to sound like a hardass....but the way I see it.....EITHER SHOW UP OR GET OUT....But then again that's only my view....Stay safe all and remember to keep the faith.........Paul
Incentive programs should be designed for calls and trainings. Meetings are important, but they don't save lives. Training on the other hand does. To qualify for the incentive you must make 50% (no less than 33%if you think less is ok) of all trainings (per quarter or year) to qualify for incentive pay. After you start the program change it so it is 50% attended AND participated in. (unless injured there should be little to no bystanders with the exception of a safety officer) This will get better attendance at trainings and will bring your level up a notch on the fireground. Hope this helps, lord knows the incentive program has been awesome for recruiting and retention in my neck of the woods.
At my Department they give $4.oo per Run and per Training it's alittle something to help with fuel cost. We are an all Volunteer Department. I agree with the other guys that you shouldn't need to give incentives to get people to show up. Alot of the Department's in my area offer alittle something to help out the volunteer's and we all are having issue's with getting member's to show up for runs and trainings, but it's not because they don't want to it's because they are having to work or have kids and both parent's are having to work. We do all of our trainings in House and ask input from the member's as to what they would like to do at the begining of each year. That helps when the member's have some input on what's going on.
Im a chief of a volunteer dept. We give $15.00 for every meeting, training, and for any type of run we have.
I think you well allways have that select few that don't show up. To me that just shows who wants to learn and stay up to day standards. But the big thing to keep the firefighters showing up. Is that you need to keep them interested. By mixing up a bit in your meetings. My meetings are allways a trianing meeting. I don't tell my guys and ladys what were doing at are meetings / training. That shows myself and my Trianing officer who
is properly trianed. Because firefighters as to keep up on trianing. Just because you have the certificate don't meen you stop training on it. Keep tianing that will save your own and your partners life. So my advice to you is try keeping your guys interested. Mybe talk with the chief and fire board on making it part of your SOGs.
Don't let people tell you that you can't fire volunteers. They had to fill out an application
Im a chief of a volunteer dept. We give $15.00 for every meeting, training, and for any type of run we have. I think you well allways have that select few that don't show up. To me that just shows who wants to learn and stay up to day standards.
The sarcastic side of me thinks it shows who wants to get paid.

Cut the fee and see what happens to attendance....
I think my cynical side puts me with lutan1 - cut out the money and see who turns up. But then we have never been paid anything here.

My Brigade has a ruling that requires members to attend a certain percentage of turn outs, training sessions, and meetings. The fact that a few of our members are choosing not to do so and nothing is being done is another issue.
We started the $4.00 per event about 2 yrs ago and it didn't change the attendance for Training or Runs.. It didn't change.. We still have the same group that show's up. And I don't know if it just my department, but the group of member's that's showing up is getting smaller and smaller.
Tony, I'm sure you agree, there'd be a huge number of CFA and SES vols dieing to get paid for turning up, but on the flipside, there'd be just as many saying jam it up your jumper, we're not interested....

I'm intrigued by the whole notion of paying to turn up.

If I use the $15.00 forumla that Chief Al uses, we'd be looking at the following-
25 members coming to training every week= $375.00

That equates to $1500.00 per month, give or take depending on a 4 or 5 week month

That in turn multiplies out to $18,000.00 per year!

And that's just training- there's a lot of equipment we could buy for that money.

Then we can add in the calls-
An average year saw us responding to 800 calls (give or take, highest being about 1100)/ An average response is between 6 and 15 members, depending on the type of call. Let's round that to 10 members per call. That then equates out to $120,000.00 per annum to pay them for turn outs. (Is my maths right there???)

We haven't even factored in all the extra meetings (such as officer meetings, etc), training meetings (to decide on training, etc) and all the others that get thrown in there....

WOW! That's not bad money for the ones that turn up to everything- I wonder if it gets taxed?
To Chief Al and all the others that pay theiur vols to turn up- where does the money come from and how to buy equipment, etc if chunks of it are going to your members?
Our point system works pretty well. You make a certain number of meetings, trainings and calls per year; to reach say 80 points. Extra points are awarded for fundraising help, extra work around the station, etc.
At our yearly banquet, the top ten firefighters or captains or lieutenants, get recognized and rewarded in a small way. For example, the top ten last year got leather shields with their name on them. Chief officers are exempt from the top ten, but not from the point system.
Every four or six months, a review is held by the executive committee to review the points accumulated and take action accordingly.
Paying people to show up is nice, but doesn't that make you a paid department?
A well run and regulated department, with the satisfaction of knowing you did a good job and are helping out someone who needs it, should be incentive enough to make people come around regularly.


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