For its efforts to make the nation safer and its look to the future, National Volunteer Fire Council earned a 2017 ASAE Power of A Summit Award for its Make Me a Firefighter program, the association’s first-ever recruitment and retainment campaign which combats the decrease in the number of volunteer firefighters over the past three decades.

“All too often, volunteer departments work alone with extremely limited resources to recruit and retain new volunteers. This program reduces the need for individual fire departments to create their own recruitment program and creates greater awareness of the need for volunteers through a single, recognizable and widespread brand,” said NVFC CEO Heather Schafer.

Of the 29,980 fire departments in the country, 85% are all or mostly volunteer, and few volunteer departments have the resources and expertise to create and implement an effective recruitment and retention campaign.  NVFC’s effort allows departments to improve staffing, deploy capabilities and provide adequate fire protection to residents.

The Make Me a Firefighter campaign was built on extensive market research which identified the traits and characteristics of those who volunteer, the interest levels of prospective volunteers, and the best target audience based on this information. The cornerstone of the campaign is a web site,, where volunteer fire departments can post opportunities, create, customize, and print recruitment materials, learn proven strategies to attract volunteers, track potential recruits, and more.

Make Me a Firefighter was built with the involvement of many key stakeholders, including the International Association of Women in the Fire & Emergency Services, the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the North American Fire Training Directors, the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association, the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters and Points of Light.

ASAE’s Power of A (association) Awards, the industry’s highest honor, recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national and global levels.  The Power of A Awards reward the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals who work tirelessly to strengthen lives, the workforce, our systems and structures, the economy and the world.

Congratulations and thank you to the National Volunteer Fire Council for exemplifying how associations strengthen the world.