I have seen carnivals, Tractor pulls, We do bingo to help our funding, Demolition derbys, just ask around the community what they would like to see and I am certain you can get the funds up to do it.
Just got home from a dept. fundraiser. We had a community day with several other local agencies included. We sold hamburgers, hotdogs and BBQ. The hit of the day and the most money raised was from our Chicken Bingo. We sold 250 raffle tickets for $5.00 each for a chance to win $250.00. We made a large board out of plywood and made 250 numbered squares on the board. Then we put a chicken on the board and whichever number it did it's business on was the winner. It is so simple but people think it is the funniest thing ever. I have seen them done with cows but it takes up a lot more space and makes a lot more mess. We are a small rural dept. that uses fund raisers for extras that the budget won't quite cover.
Thanks guys for all the replies! truly helped a lot. Probably will bring some of these ideas up at the next meeting
We do a Beef Brisket sale. We have guys stay up all night cooking/smoking the briskets the night before. We pre-sell the briskets so we know how many to get.
If people don't want an entire brisket; we do sell individual plates too. We have a lot of success with this.
We also sell tickets for a raffle the is given away at a local rodeo and stock show. We have also had great success with this, however; we are not the only department involved in this endevour.
We send out a fund raising letter once a year at a cost to the dept of around $2500 for 5000 people in our coverage area. We use our letter head for the station and explain how the last year went with the total of calls and our purchases with there donations and all information about the dept. We get roughly $15,000 to $20,000 every year and what is left over from the previous year we have enough to cover whatever might come up during the year to help the Chief if the cities budget won't cover it. We get a print shop to print it up and print the mailing envelope along with the return mailing envelope so it is just a matter of getting everyone together for the stuffing the letter and return envelope into the mailing one and get it to the post office for delivery to occupant so everyone will get it. No muss no fuss and and we have tried pretty much everything with this getting the best results. With this we get donations all year long as the people come and go in our beach front little town. In the letter we also explain in a very NO nonsense way that this is the only way we solicit for funds and not in the phone call solicitation that can sound very intimidating to the elderly.
I have been to a fund raiser where the whole town gets involved. A reverse raffle. All the vendors in town or the area donate prizes while the fire company or rescue squad provide the main prize.
Depending on the cost of the prize will determin the price and number of tickets sold.
The day of the raffle starts off with drawing of first ticket which gets a prize from a vendor and depending on the number of prizes donated the number of tickets drawn until the next prize.
When they get down to ten tickets the people holding those tickets have to come forward and sit so that other people can bid or try to buy those people's tickets. If no one sell then their tickets are pulled and given a prize until the last ticket is bought or or given the prize.
Another thing might be professional photos for the family or auctions where the dept will make money off sells.
I see a lot of the common answers for fundraisers, which are typically an annual or monthly event that raises some funds but often not enough for buying tools or gear that you really need. So here's food for thought - the fire department which I respond with has an auxiliary and dedicated firefighters who volunteer at the station daily with our two key fundraisers:
1- A payroll donation system. Right now our's is only with our City's employees, but they can sign an authorization form and every time a donor gets their paycheck, the City automatically deducts the amount they authorized. Let's say 20 employees each dedicated only $25 per paycheck to the department auxiliary - that amounts to $500 per paycheck into the auxiliary - 26 paychecks per year adds up to $13,000 per year. A selling point, if your auxiliary or boosters is a nonprofit corporation or if you can get it donated through a city or county/borough government, the donation could be tax deductible at the end of the year.
You can actually work out agreements with any employer at all, if they are willing, and then that employer would write the payroll donation check to your department. So depending on your local economy you might be able to make a good capital purchase account every year, Imagine what $13,000 (or more if you get businesses to sign up) adds up to in buying new PPE, tools, or whatever your station needs. I would be happy to send you a copy of the form we use but many banks can also provide you with samples.
2- Sell something regularly and locally. Our auxiliary went to a local movie theater that was going out of business, and a local fast food joint that was upgrading their equipment, and got them to donate their ice machines. Then three firefighters and auxiliary members daily would bag ice (many larger retailers can help you get some ice bags at very little cost). We then sold it through our department for a fee close to but under the going rates and suddenly it blew up - coffee stands, ice cream stores, and liquor stores must buy ice regularly and they felt that it was "nicer" to buy their supply in a way that supported their fire department. Especially since we didn't charge more than the others out there.
Our initial plan was only to sell the ice at the local park during fishing season, but instead it turned into a very active source of funds. Most coffee stands only buy one to four bags weekly, but the local liquor stores would buy up to 100 bags every Friday. To do this you have to find yourself an ice machine or a couple as well as some freezers and two-to-three people who can help daily for an hour. If you have a lot of places to sell ice and don't have competition, imagine the possibilities. Sell 300 bags of ice per week (a couple liquor stores and a couple bait/camping shops) at $1.50 each, that's $450 per week to support your department - adds up to $23,400 per year.
I hope this gives you some ideas. Email me at christian.hartley (at symbol) hartleyrm.com if you have any other questions or would like to see our form.