Hanover Fire-EMS

The Client:

Hanover Fire-EMS has been recognized as one of the leading Fire-EMS organizations in the region and typically draws from an applicant pool of young people ages 18–25 who are looking to gain experience and career training to become professional firefighters, who are interested in helping their community, or who become aware of opportunities in the field through friends. The integration of career and volunteer staff and adherence to the highest training standards are just a few of the reasons why Hanover Fire-EMS is highly respected.

The Challenge:

Despite general awareness of the important work firefighters and first responders do, 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 with the career goals of younger generations changing, the organization has had difficulty keeping up with retention and recruiting. That’s where we stepped in. With the help of a grant awarded to Hanover Fire-EMS, Dotted Line Collaborations got to work helping the organization attract new staff.

Our Approach:

In order to attract new volunteers, we produced a social media campaign that was brought to life using data from an extensive research study. We interviewed the organization’s leadership and actual volunteers, and dispersed an online survey that was completed by 200+ current Hanover Fire-EMS volunteers. Our research revealed that volunteers join Hanover Fire-EMS 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. Using this data, we then crafted a unique campaign position for Hanover Fire-EMS:

If you’re looking to serve your community and be part of one of the leading Fire-EMS organizations in Virginia, Hanover County is the place to volunteer.

At Hanover Fire-EMS, our volunteers and career staff work closely together, undergoing the same advanced training and sharing one mission: to protect and serve the residents of Hanover County each and every day.

That’s why they are truly Hanover’s heroes.

The time is now to be a Hanover Hero. Join us!

From here, our team produced a creative campaign that centered around the message “Join. Train. Prevail.” The campaign included the creation of a logo and manifesto, a recruitment video using 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.

We used actual volunteers and Hanover Fire-EMS visuals across all of the materials. The video and social media ads are now running across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with a strategic media spend for each channel. Ads are driving interested individuals to the landing page to learn more and apply.

The Results:

The results of this campaign to date have been staggering. In the first six weeks alone, Hanover Fire-EMS received 43 new volunteer applications (their annual goal for the last few years has 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.

Our “EMS Patch” Facebook and Instagram posts went viral across Hanover County. The campaign has been so successful that Hanover Fire-EMS has adjusted its internal operations to align with the Join. Train. Prevail. platform to ensure a smoother recruitment process.

These results are just the beginning, as the campaign and engagement will continue for several more years. We’re also pleased to share that Hanover Fire-EMS is so happy with the results that they’re encouraging other jurisdictions to conduct similar campaigns.

Hanover Fire-EMS Creative Samples

“One of the best decisions our department has made was to work with Dotted Line Collaborations. Our organization had been struggling in recent years to attract new volunteers to join our team. Dotted Line conducted extensive research, surveying and having conversations with our actual volunteers, then crafted a unique and compelling recruitment campaign that aligns to our organization’s mission and values. The look of the creative campaign and quality of the video they produced were above and beyond our expectations. In just days of launching, we saw more traction than we had in months the previous year and we’re on track to double, if not triple, our numbers by the end of year one!”

Gregory R. Martin, Battalion Chief, PIO

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