It’s Benjamin Franklin’s 310th birthday—and did you know that America's first national postmaster also created America's first volunteer fire department?
Arlington, VA -- January 17, 2017 – Like most volunteer fire departments, the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department in Arlington, VA, depends on local donations to provide support services to Arlington County Fire Department and keep facilities and equipment up to date as they receive no funding from the tax base. But Cherrydale has an additional challenge – the station, built in 1919, has been designated an historic landmark so a reliable flow of donations is essential.
For the 2016/2017 fundraising season, Cherrydale modernized its approach with the help of local experts at Click2Mail.com who agreed to volunteer their direct mail expertise to the cause of those who have served a community that includes The Pentagon for over a century. Cherrydale VFD paired personalized direct mail - a proven fundraising tool - with a modern-day twist -- Every Door Direct Mailâ and QR codes that can be scanned with a mobile phone to connect givers instantly to a donation page. Compelling mailpieces reminded the station’s entire neighborhood about all that Cherrydale VFD does in the community in addition, of course, to fighting fires and supporting career firefighters in the area. The response has been outstanding!
“We did less work, spent cents-per-letter, and got more responses,” says Bo Pryor, a long-time member of the station. “You load your letter into Click2Mail’s online system and everything is printed, processed, and mailed automatically. But most important, the new approach has grown our community of supporters and increased the amount of funds we've raised.”
"For the last decade, the CVFD has relied on its annual fundraising letter for the majority of its operating budget. They printed letters, stuffed envelops, applied postage, and lugged boxes of letters to the Post Office," explains Lee Garvey, President of Click2Mail--"not the best use of a firefighter’s time." He added, “Benjamin Franklin might appreciate the collaboration, since not only was he was America's first postmaster, he also created America's first volunteer fire department."
Cherrydale is an important part of its community. It plans a number of annual events: a coat drive, a Santa visit, open house during Fire Safety Week in October, and general safety events. The station comprises members who are cross-trained as both firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Volunteers provide support to the career Arlington County Fire Departments with personnel, resources and apparatus.