25 Fire Fighter Fundraising Alternatives to Boot Fundraising Part One


Operation Warm has partnered with Fire Fighters for nearly 20 years, and we have learned a lot from each dedicated public servant. We wanted to share what we have learned.

Boot fundraising is a traditional fire fighter fundraising idea. Fire fighters grab their boots and go out asking people in the community to fill them with money. Donations go toward various fire fighter needs and programs. Boot fundraising can be a great way to fundraise, because it is very direct. Still, to maximize the donations your fire fighter program receives, it is important to plan out additional or alternative ways to fundraise.

Three Reasons Why You Should Have Fundraising Alternatives to Boot Fundraising

fill the boot fire truckThere are three main reasons why you should have a list of new fire fighter fundraising ideas.

Fire Fighter Fundraising Scams

Unfortunately, there are criminals who claim to be fire fighters raising money for a cause, when in fact they are lining their own pockets. Fire fighter fundraising scams are all over the media.

This is a shame with unfortunate consequences. People may be less likely to contribute to a real fire fighter boot fundraising because they are afraid of being scammed.

Objections to Boot Fundraising

Some fire fighters say that they have had some objections to boot fundraising and would like to try other ways of fundraising. Some of the reasons we’ve heard include, “It feels like begging,” “Standing in the street can be a safety risk,” and “It could send the wrong message.”

There is a lot of Fundraising Competition

There are a lot of great causes out there, and many organizations are asking for donations. Fire fighters are finding that they must do multiple fundraisers or fundraising events throughout the year to support their needs and programs.

It is always good to have a few backup fundraising ideas in case your first or main fundraiser is not able to meet your goals. Many fire fighters decide to plan additional fundraisers because they need to expand their programs to do more good in their communities.

25 Fire Fighter Fundraising Alternatives to Boot Fundraising

Adapt these ideas for what will work best for your department. You may want to try some of these fundraising ideas at community events or set them up in partnership with local businesses.

  1. A golf scramble is an easier form of a golf tournament. Charge admission to the event and ask sponsors to buy a hole. Golfweek Magazine explains the difference.
  2. 50/50 raffle. The winner may donate their share back to the fire department, if you ask.
  3. Fundraising night at a local restaurant. Many local establishments are happy to donate a portion of the sales when their customers mention the event.
  4. Facebook donate button or fundraising event. Learn more here or contact the marketing team at Operation Warm to learn how to get a Facebook fundraiser for your Operation Warm program.
  5. Fire fighter calendar. Take one photo per month, create a calendar and sell copies to the community.
  6. Old fashioned dance. Hire a DJ and set the decade anywhere from the 40s to the 80s.
  7. Monthly Bingo. Make it creative. Bingo experts share some ideas.
  8. Fire department stew—make a large batch, freeze it in smaller containers and sell it as a quick, delicious meal. Here is a recipe from Firehouse.com to get you started.
  9. Summer barbecue or chicken plate sale. Volunteer cooks and donated fare makes for a successful fundraiser.
  10. Rent out your space for parties
  11. Hold a fire truck pull event
  12. Beer garden/block party event
  13. Pizza fundraiser
  14. Tag sale, sidewalk sale or garage sale. Ask for donated items.
  15. Offer a photo with a fire fighter
  16. Charge admission to a fire fighter obstacle course
  17. Produce a comedy or talent show night.
  18. Host a pancake breakfast
  19. Have a spaghetti dinner
  20. Create a fall pumpkin patch or corn maze with a local farmer
  21. A brewery night can be fun and profitable
  22. Offer a fire fighter car wash
  23. Auction off an interesting old piece of equipment
  24. Fire fighters are the greatest cooks. Sell a cookbook of your favorite recipes.
  25. Offer fire prevention house calls

This article is part of a three-part series. To learn about the Firefighters for Operation Warm program and to get fundraising support: Firefighters for Operation Warm


Join hundreds of fire departments across the country to give brand new coats to children in the communities you protect.

Learn more

Related Articles

A Big Thank You Firefighters for Inspiring Hope in 2017

Can you believe it has been five years since IAFF Firefighters originally partnered with Operation Warm to provide brand new winter coats to children living in need? Thanks to their…

Read More

5 Reasons Why Firefighters Are Heroes

Firefighters have been saving the lives of Americans since 1678. Although their techniques have changed since then, firefighters are still saving thousands of lives each year. Operation Warm has been…

Read More

Stay Connected