Hanover Fire-EMS has been recognized as one of the leading Fire-EMS organizations in the Central Virginia region due to its integration of career and volunteer staff and adherence to the highest training.
The overall number of fire and EMS volunteers has dropped by 12% since 1984, and emergency organizations have had a difficult time maintaining staff as seasoned veterans step down. Hanover Fire-EMS had done a respectable job of replacing as many as 50 firefighters per year by onboarding just as many new volunteers, but the organization had difficulty keeping up with retention and recruiting. Hanover Fire-EMS used funds from a grant to enlist Dotted Line’s help.
In order to attract new volunteers, we produced a social media campaign brought to life using data from an extensive research study. We interviewed the organization’s leadership and staff and dispersed an online survey that was completed by 200+ current Hanover Fire-EMS volunteers. Our research revealed that volunteers joined for three main reasons: to gain experience and training, to serve their community, or because of a friend or family member’s history of volunteering in the organization.
From there, we produced a creative campaign that centered around the message “Join. Train. Prevail.” The campaign included the creation of a logo and manifesto, recruitment materials that featured actual Hanover Fire-EMS volunteers, a series of social media ads, and a landing page to make it as easy as possible for volunteers to apply.
The results were staggering. In the first six weeks alone, Hanover Fire-EMS received 43 new volunteer applications (their annual goal had been 125). The campaign reached 75,000 social media users during the first two months. The landing page received 3,000 views from April to June, with the average visitor spending more than four minutes with the content.