Everyone has probably seen this button at least once somewhere on the internet asking for donations especially in times of natural disasters, war, famine, etc. Volunteer departments get a lot of their funding through donations for equipment, supplies, training, etc. I recently came across an event on FaceBook (imagine that) with a young volunteer firefighter requesting donations to help fund his way through EMT-Basic training because his department didn't offer any assistance for the course. What do you think about this, is it a great way in our "technological age" to get funding? Should departments that have websites have a "Donation" button for visitors to give to them even if they aren't in the departments coverage area? Is this legal to do so? How can you be certain it is a legitimate person you are sending money to and not some con-artist? When I saw this I thought to myself, "Wow, I should do this and then I could get my Paramedic course paid off in no time!" That lasted for a second and then my morals/ethics/conscience came into play and I decided that even though I would be accepting the generosity of others it still felt wrong.
I don't know, I just saw this and it got me thinking about technology and social networking these days, and I applied it to the fire service and it brought up these questions. So how do you feel about the issue: is taking donations to pay for training moral, ethical, and legal? Please feel free to comment.