How much to donate to local police and fire department?

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knightrider
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How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by knightrider » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:27 am

Got letters asking to donate to both. The fire department is volunteer run ( not sure what exactly that means ). I plan to give $50 to each. But not sure if I should give more? What criteria would you use to determine the amount?

Swansea
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Swansea » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:37 am

Depends upon the local conditions. First responders in my area are awarded severance packages which can be worth up to $250K if they agree 3 years in advance to retire. And their pay is not bad either. I no longer donate.

annielouise
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by annielouise » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:41 am

I would donate to a volunteer fire department. Probably would donate our minimum amount ($100) unless I had more information about where the money goes.

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Raymond
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Raymond » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:41 am

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:27 am
Got letters asking to donate to both. The fire department is volunteer run ( not sure what exactly that means ). I plan to give $50 to each. But not sure if I should give more? What criteria would you use to determine the amount?
(emphasis added)

Here's a link: Volunteer fire department - Wikipedia.org

Give what you want - I don't donate (and the local FD and PD don't solicit anyway) as my property taxes are high enough to pay them well, which is fine with me.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

runner3081
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by runner3081 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:05 am

Right or wrong, I provide through property taxes. At no point would I donate additional funds. There are so many better causes out there. Too many kids out there starving and dying.

Carson
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Carson » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:16 am

What are the letters soliciting donations for? Is it to provide money to the actual department to be used in-house? Or is it for a charitable organization that they are working with (eg, the relationship between International Association of Fire Fighters and the Muscular Distrophy Association)

DH previously served as a volunteer firefighter. While they managed most of their budget from tax revenue, there was definitely always a need for funds for training, equipment, community outreach, K-9, etc...
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N1CKV
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by N1CKV » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:20 am

For those commenting on the actions and pay to the police and firefighters, you are not focusing on what these donations are about.
Salaries and benefits are funded from known and predictable recurring revenues (taxes).

Donations are used for things like equipment purchases or special training. Taxes do not always cover things like bullet resistant vests.

As for the comment that officers shoot unarmed citizens: you should try training exercises simulating what officers deal with and the decisions being made.

As for not understanding a volunteer fire department:
The firefighters are volunteers, as in your neighbor. They do not get paid. They attend extensive first responder training and rotate shifts on-call at the fire house ready to serve you in an unpaid capacity. They have radios/pagers that go off in the middle of the night and get out of their warm bed, throw on gear to try to save your family's life. Sometimes there will be a paid fire chief (someone needs to coordinate the chaos and take responsibility). Your property taxes often support these departments with the basic equipment, but are not enough to hire professional / full time firefighters. If you are served by a volunteer department and want to contribute you may want to stop by and ask where you can contribute. You may decide cash, you may be able to donate time maintaining equipment or doing administrative work.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

RickBoglehead
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:21 am

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:27 am
Got letters asking to donate to both. The fire department is volunteer run ( not sure what exactly that means ). I plan to give $50 to each. But not sure if I should give more? What criteria would you use to determine the amount?
A volunteer run fire department means different things in different areas. In some communities, the equipment may in fact be owned by the fire company, not by the community. And the fire fighters may receive zero compensation, even having to purchase equipment that isn't provided by the fire department.

In some communities, the city/town may contribute something to the fire department, and they have to come up with the rest via donations.

In some communities, the officers and staff may be paid, and the actual firefighters may be volunteer. Or they may be volunteer and paid per call.

A recent trend has been less young people becoming volunteer firefighters, so as old timers have to retire the community has to go to a paid department or not have any staffing on a call.

In some communities, they require a "donation" or every call to your home is a charge. That charge is often covered by homeowner's insurance, but check first.

Make sure any solicitation is legitimate, beware of "Fire Chiefs Association" or "Police Chiefs Association" or any "Association". Do your homework before donating.

Katietsu
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Katietsu » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:32 am

I have always donated to the VFD. Volunteers spend countless hours training and they are willing to risk their lives for their community. It is appalling that these same people also have to spend Saturdays working at barbecue chicken dinners and Sundays serving pancakes to raise money for needed equipment. If your VFD must raise funds to meet basic needs, then I would suggest donating $50-$100.

smitcat
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by smitcat » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:43 am

N1CKV wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:20 am
For those commenting on the actions and pay to the police and firefighters, you are not focusing on what these donations are about.
Salaries and benefits are funded from known and predictable recurring revenues (taxes).

Donations are used for things like equipment purchases or special training. Taxes do not always cover things like bullet resistant vests.

As for the comment that officers shoot unarmed citizens: you should try training exercises simulating what officers deal with and the decisions being made.

As for not understanding a volunteer fire department:
The firefighters are volunteers, as in your neighbor. They do not get paid. They attend extensive first responder training and rotate shifts on-call at the fire house ready to serve you in an unpaid capacity. They have radios/pagers that go off in the middle of the night and get out of their warm bed, throw on gear to try to save your family's life. Sometimes there will be a paid fire chief (someone needs to coordinate the chaos and take responsibility). Your property taxes often support these departments with the basic equipment, but are not enough to hire professional / full time firefighters. If you are served by a volunteer department and want to contribute you may want to stop by and ask where you can contribute. You may decide cash, you may be able to donate time maintaining equipment or doing administrative work.
These are local situations - your description does not accurately reflect our area.

Thegame14
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:44 am

I donate more than enough to them with my $12,000 in property taxes with our 120 person police department having a $15M budget, which is insane!! So when they come around for donations, I give them $20 and they should be happy with that.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:46 am

My first part of due diligence would be to call both the fire dept and police dept and ask them about the organizations soliciting my money. I have done that. In 26 years of living in my house and years of solicitations, not once has one of these places been legitimate. Same with the phone calls. They've all been scams.
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N1CKV
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by N1CKV » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:51 am

smitcat wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:43 am
These are local situations - your description does not accurately reflect our area.
...and we thank you for the extraordinary contribution of information that you contributed.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

smitcat
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by smitcat » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:23 pm

N1CKV wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:51 am
smitcat wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:43 am
These are local situations - your description does not accurately reflect our area.
...and we thank you for the extraordinary contribution of information that you contributed.
Did not want other folks to think that your situation would be accurate in their own neighborhood without first checking.

user5027
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by user5027 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:58 pm

I make three annual donations to police and fire departments. We use to donate $50 to the ambulance squad that covered our area when they solicited, before the service was taken over by the local hospital under an agreement with the township.

$100 (tax deductible) directly to the volunteer fire department that my late father was the chief of before we moved away when I was 3. I have memories of visiting my grandparents for many years and Dad taking me to see the "guys at the firehouse" and being able to play on the fire trucks. They sent a truck for his funeral procession 45 years later. I started the memorial donations after his passing.

$50 (tax deductible) directly to my local volunteer fire department during their annual fund drive that also announces the schedule for Santa's ride on the fire truck around the township.

$50 (NOT tax deductible) directly to my local township police union. They solicit annually.

When the suspected scammers call for the "Police Chiefs" or "Injured Firefighters" I cut them off, explain how I choose to support the police and firefighters and politely end the call.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:11 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:46 am
My first part of due diligence would be to call both the fire dept and police dept and ask them about the organizations soliciting my money. I have done that. In 26 years of living in my house and years of solicitations, not once has one of these places been legitimate. Same with the phone calls. They've all been scams.
The scammers in my neck of the woods tend to call themselves “insert name of state here”...police or fire association. When they call, I tell them to send me the paperwork, they never do. They want your commitment upfront in form of a credit card number. Second, my local paper did a expose on these scammers who turned out to be located in the next town and were retired police officers, the purported charity never made any charitable donations with funds received instead they spent the money on rent and administrative expenses that when asked about could not provide straight answers. End result - I give nothing to police and fire unless it’s in writing, is local to direct community I live in and I know for a fact (see it first hand) charity in action that requires funding.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

novemberrain
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by novemberrain » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:38 pm

“It is routine now for firefighters to be up over $200,000, $300,000,” said Mark Bucher, chief executive officer of the California Policy Center, a public policy think tank. “Look at just about any city and you’ll see the same thing.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/c ... r-pay.html

Not sure these people need any donations on top of their huge pay

mouses
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by mouses » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:56 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:46 am
My first part of due diligence would be to call both the fire dept and police dept and ask them about the organizations soliciting my money. I have done that. In 26 years of living in my house and years of solicitations, not once has one of these places been legitimate. Same with the phone calls. They've all been scams.
+1 These are scams one always hears about.

However, if I lived in an area with a volunteer fire department or there was news coverage of some genuine need not covered by taxes, I would consider donating, especially to a volunteer group.

123
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by 123 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:01 pm

As others have said I would exercise an abundance of caution to verify that the solicitor is actually acting on behalf of my local police and/or fire department before I would donate any money. There are a lot of scams. In one area I lived in there were newspaper stories that telephone fraudsters would actually send out people to collect donations in cash to "save" the donor the hassle of a check and the cost of a stamp. Of course, people that gave money once were first on the list to be called again.
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Flobes
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Flobes » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:22 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:27 am
How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Got letters asking to donate to both. The fire department is volunteer run ( not sure what exactly that means ). I plan to give $50 to each. But not sure if I should give more? What criteria would you use to determine the amount?
I donate to our volunteer fire department each year, usually $100-$200.

These brave women and men run into burning buildings and raging forest fires -- in service to the community. They have days jobs and families, yet spend their spare time in arduous training. Then they risk their lives for us, in all conditions, at all hours, whenever the pager bleeps.

Our fire department department also has volunteer EMTs and ambulance drivers.

They all do an outstanding job. Life in the community would be a whole lot less safe and secure but for them. Could you ask for better neighbors?

Giving money is the very least I can do.

Property taxes pay for fire equipment and buildings. It's totally fine with me whatever however they use my $ contribution.

On the other hand, our police department is well paid (and pensioned). So I don't donate.

I've never been asked for any gifts by either our fire or police department.

Good Listener
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by Good Listener » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:26 pm

I always give to volunteer fire departments. Where I live, in New Jersey, our police and fire people are paid plenty in pay and benefits out of our taxes and I would never give extra to them. I am not anti police by any means but am aware of the high compensation.

MJS
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by MJS » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:02 pm

Maybe another $50 for your local Friends of the Public Library? They help the community, too.

GmanJeff
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by GmanJeff » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:12 pm

As others have noted, organization funding sources can vary widely.

For fire departments, paid, paid-on-call (paid per call), volunteer, and combination paid/volunteer organizations all exist, although most rural and many suburban fire departments in this country are staffed only by unpaid volunteers, in contrast to municipal departments which typically consist of mostly career paid staff. Combination departments, partly staffed by paid personnel and equipped to varying degrees by the local government using tax dollars, and partly staffed by unpaid volunteers who sometimes own and may separately raise non-tax funds for some or all of the fire stations, fire suppression and emergency medical vehicles, and other equipment. As noted in another post, some departments charge per call, while others provide their services, no matter how resource intensive, for no charge. There are also subscription models, where members of the community pay a fee to belong to a fire protection district within which they receive service if needed, as long as they have paid their subscription. So, situations vary, and fire departments may receive all, some, or no funding from tax revenues. Many volunteer departments reply exclusively on annual fundraising appeals, and on other sources of revenue such as monthly bingo run by the volunteers for the community, pancake breakfasts, renting their training facilities for private functions, and the like.

Police departments are always funded by tax revenue, but some smaller ones may accept donations for extras, such as the maintenance of a volunteer auxiliary which provides unpaid staff to supplement paid employees, or for specialized equipment, training, or outreach activities such as anti-drunk driving publicity campaigns, which may not be able to be supported with tax revenue alone.

You might wish to inquire into how the funds raised through the solicitations you mention are used in your community, so you can make an informed decision. People who donate see value in the services funded by their donations, which otherwise would not be available to them or to their neighbors.

jdb
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Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Post by jdb » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:34 pm

If you want to donate to a group supporting police that makes a difference suggest https://www.concernsofpolicesurvivors.org/. My widowed sister in law was one of founders many years ago, and it helped her and her young children and my parents. A great organization providing support to families of police officers killed in line of duty. Good luck.

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