Asking for monetary donations for training, your views: is it moral, ethical, legal?!

 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.

-Jonathan LCFD

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Might help if I posted a picture of the button!

is taking donations to pay for training moral, ethical, and legal? Please feel free to comment.

I don't agree with it at all, mostly for the reasons already stated, like con person, legitimacy, etc. Just because you need funding, try looking at something legitimate like student loans. I wouldn't give a cent to someone like this.

I would say no for any individual to solicit monetary donations online for training or any other reason. It just seems like online panhandling to me. Just my 2 cents…
EMT training isn't that expensive. If you want this job bad enough I'm sure you can find the money. I'm guessing this is some kid that's probably not old enough to be a fireman in the first place. If he can't afford this class he probably isn't old or responsible enough to handle the job. I would never donate the money to that fool. I spent all of the money I had(which I earned on my own) flying around the country to get this job. I earned it on my own and not by hand outs because I actually wanted it. It's actually embarrassing to even hear something like this.
Fundraisers, not asking for donations. But in all cases, be sure you are able to show where the money goes. We had one of our rural paid on call stations sell calendars as a fundraiser. Because they are part of our greater city, any fundraising done must be given to an outside agency, such as Muscular Dystrophy or Heart and Stroke Foundation, etc. One of the guys from the station told me he was disgusted because they were planning on throwing themselves a party with the money! If they had done it and been found out, that would have been impossible to explain and they would have lost their positions.
I'm not saying this is what you want to do with the money, lol, just saying, be able to show any fundraising and spending of those funds.
Our department formed an auxiliary because we couldn't accept donations. We are part of local government so your taxes already pay for the service. But you still get people who want to help and trust me with the ever tightening budgets we need the help. Our auxiliary does fund raisers though out the year and it has bought new gear, radios...ummm new bbq grill for the station. But anyways we pay for all training up to EMT-Basic and Firefighter 1&2. We buy your gear and medical supplies. If you want to further your education like becoming a paramedic you have to pay your own way. Our station license is only up to Basic life support. But we will pay for your continuing ed credits for your medical license because again it is beneficial for us to keep you certified.
You and me both man, until just recently my department actually started paying for certification exams, all of the ones I've had I had to pay for. My degree, paid in full with student loans that I so so so thrilled to pay back. It is embarrassing to hear of a potential firefighter pan-handling...
I agree with you Michael, although if you gave your literal $0.02 and so did a thousand others he would have $20 towards his training haha
John along with student loans there are grants and payment plans; all of which I am "too" familiar with. In my opinion if you aren't willing to put in the hard work (which involves funding as well) then you don't deserve the job/career/life of a firefighter.
Indeed, our union does fundraisers for Muscular Dystrophy and many others, we're considering calendars and bbq dinners etc. The main thing is tracking where the money goes. I could never see asking for donations to pay for someones training, it is just immoral.
Chief I didn't read too much into it, a red flag went up in my mind shouting "Con-Artist" and I closed the window out. But as for your question, I know many departments that don't pay for outside training that the department doesn't deal with (paramedic, confined space rescue, water/dive rescue, hazmat specialist) so I guess if the guy was legit and his department didn't run medical that would possibly be his case as well. Again, to me it sounded like pan-handling and was both immoral and unethical.
I applaud the young person who came up with the idea. I can't think of a more creative way to get into EMT school. Hope the effort pays off.

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