North Carolina’s population is growing fast. Right now, there are 10.7 million people in our state, a number set to increase to 11 million by 2030. With more people in our cities and towns, there are increased demands on local resources, such as Fire Service and EMS, to serve the growing community.
Many fire departments across the state are volunteers and are being called on for a broader range of services including water rescue, EMS-related events, school education, and more. To keep up, volunteer fire departments spend more than half their time on fundraising activities. While there are municipal funds that help, the majority of local operational budgets depend on donations from fundraising events or indirect monetary support.
Believe it or not, there are easy ways that you can generate cash to help support Fire Service and EMS in North Carolina, right now. By just being you – and at no cost to you. In other words, there are ways to use your everyday purchases to provide support.
Everyday Ways to Support Fire Service and EMS
Here are three ways to generate cash for Fire Service, at no cost to you.
Check Amazon Smile for a Local Firehouse: We have all ordered items from Amazon, especially during the pandemic. In addition to local charities, many firehouses are also listed as possible recipients of a percentage-of-purchase donation in the Amazon Smile program. Amazon Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of all eligible purchases to your chosen organization.
Select a Consumer Affinity Card as Your Debit Card: This is a way to support Fire Service throughout the year – without even thinking about it. Affinity programs are available at select credit unions and some banks. They are attached to your checking account and debit card. Once you select the card of your choosing, you do not need to do anything but use your card; something you do anyway. One North Carolina program is with Civic Federal Credit Union where they donate 50 percent of the net merchant fees to NCSFA. So far, this program has generated more than $3 million to help offset costs for health insurance, disability income, scholarships, and training for Fire Service personnel. This program is inclusive and available to anyone who wants to support Fire Service.
Organize a Recycling Event: Collecting aluminum cans, plastic bottles or glass containers can help raise money for volunteer Fire Service. This approach can be a good fit for schools, scouting organizations, or churches that have access to large amounts of bottles and cans, and also want to give back. Once collected, the group needs to bring the bottles and cans to a redemption center, such as a local grocery store, to qualify for the 5 - 10 cents per item. Successful programs have been able to raise more than $5,000 per year.
All told, the ultimate way to give back is to become a volunteer yourself. If that is not possible, these ideas can help you generate cash for Fire Service across N.C., so they can better serve our growing communities.
Disclaimer: You + Money posts are provided for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a financial, legal or accounting advisor.