View Full Version : help with Donations

09-02-2008, 12:10 AM
Hello i am new to this site and this is my first post. i have a question and i am hopeing maybe someone can help me with this. my local fire department that i am a memeber of hosts an annual haunted hayride. We are a non-profit organization and we have a very limited budget so in other words we cant afford to buy alot of halloween props. so i was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction on how to get donations of props and decorations, or maybe some of you guys on here would be willing to donate some of your old props from your haunted houses that you dont use anymore. pretty much all of our funding comes from fundraisers and this is our biggest of the year and i would love to make this the best year ever. so if anyone out there can help it would really be appreciated.

Jim Warfield
09-02-2008, 01:01 AM
How would, could, anybody donate anything to someone with no real name, address, or anything?
Better identify yourself and tell everyone what fire department in what town this is located.
Maybe I'm just being too logical?

09-02-2008, 11:46 PM
i am sorry i left out those details
i am a memeber of the Parsonsburg Vol. Fire co. we are located in wicomico county maryland. my name is jason peek and i would give my address on here but i would rather give it to the person who would be willing to donate through email. If you want to see that i am legit you can visit our site at www.parsonsburgfire.com If you would more info just message me. thank you, jason

screamline studios
09-02-2008, 11:51 PM
Not trying to be a dick but why wouldnt your own city help you out??? you ask for our help as your congress men eat lunch on us tax payers!!!as they take there daily golf swing, as most people sweat there ass off just to come up with a negitive figure in there bank account, see anything wrong here???


09-03-2008, 12:24 AM
i wish it was that easy. See we are not a town or a city. we are a fire dept. that has a district of 50 square miles that does not have the luxury of collecting taxes from our citizens and the higher ups dont care about us. This is why we hold fundraisers throughout the year to help cover our operating cost so that we can keep our equiptment on the road so we can be there when our community needs us.

Greg Chrise
09-03-2008, 03:08 PM
It certainly never hurts to ask if props are available somewhere. Some may indeed have an overstock of old things they can donate to charity and get a little tax write off.

The problem is in these days of easily spending $50 or more a day on gas to travel, it isn't worth going to get a $12 item. Like wise it costs even more money to be so helpful and ship or bring things for your event.

There are a great number of fire fighter run charity haunts. All thought not riding on any tax based budget, most calls are still compesated for (sometimes big time) by the county, State or citizen that has required services.

I personally was a little disheartened by discovering that I worked several years to make the fire department $8,000 at my own labor and expense to discover they make the same amount for watching a truck burn on the highway for 2 hours. Yes there are expenses and compenstations for equipment that was maintained over a greater time for that 2 hours of devotion but bottom line, I went into debt making the haunt big enough to make a community organization that was kind of self sufficient, money. Or have fun or give back to the community or what ever.

However, money, supplies and effort comes from many sources right in your district. It might not be the business owners who have been hounded to death for giving away their supposed fortunes, it comes from people who have actually had their homes saved, lives saved of their own and relatives. In some cases they are a bit more successful and those businesses might be out of district but their homes are not.

reviewing your website, you have a lot of members, probably a board of directors and each and every one of those people work somewhere and has connections to someone that has what you need to pull off your event.

So you just make a list, the same way everyone is game for that yearly barbeque, you have everyone by something for $100 or get something to the tune of $100 to $1000 donated. Each year becomes an accumulation of good stuff. Someone knows a printer, someone knows a home products manager, someone has a fire extinguisher business and so on. Many know a home builder or remodeler that didn't want to spend lots of time handling there waste materials.

And of course some of the best stuff is hand fashioned from raw materials in the form of Halloween/haunt decor. The whole effort becomes yet more of a team building effort among portions of the existing members.

To motivate even those that think the haunted trail is crap and they are there to fight fires not play kiddy games, what ever you find yearly can be used in training excersizes after the event, be it cars, small temporary buildings etc. This also cleans the community of free crap that might otherwise be an eye sore and disposes of it. It becomes a big annual cycle as storage and moving stuff is possibly the biggest expense for a seasonal event.

Overall I think you would be appreciated far better by showing this overall coordination skill than showing up with having collected $50 or 2 rotted masks and some black fabric.

Back to the board of directors. If you have that many members and that much equipment, fronting a thouand or two is not really a big deal knowing it will come back 10 to 20 times. And you buy new stuff. You don't inherit rot, face fungus, bugs from another land and general unsightlyness.

So much of what makes good detail in a haunt is locally found junk that you were just specific enough to know what to look for. In essence you are giving a tour of junk and being paid for it. So the only expense is tracking down and hauling in the junk. So you spread the expense to all the members who in many cases can grab something and bring it in a trip they otherwise would have made anyhow.

No one outside your district, that might require emergency service is going to have the same community spirit. Overall, it doesn't take money, it takes things having been fashioned into something else. It's more about resourcefullness.

And those that did come up with something with a legitimate expense can be reimbursed from the ticket sales. The money comes from the customers ultimately.

09-04-2008, 12:32 AM
first off thank you for replying but i want to say is that even though we have a big roster of people we only have about 10-15% of those people who actually do anything for the fire department. the other 80-85% of the memebers are only there to look important and to collect the tax write-off at the end of the year. As far as reimbersement from the county we are lucky if the give us $90,000.00 a year for operating cost. That is for both Fire and EMS service. And on top of that we are in desparate need of a new fire house and we are working towards that and we have to come up with the funding ourselves( no county or state help) , that is why it is so hard for the hayride commity to ask for 1-2000 dollars to purchase stuff with cause the board just wont give us that kind of money. That is why i stated this thread.

We run our hayride as strictly all volunteers and we charge our guest $6.00 a person. Over the years we have really noticed that our income has reduced dramaticly due to loseing customers over the years cause the say it just isnt scary.


-If its not scary and they dont come back we lose money.
-trustees wont give us that much money ( $500.00 and under)
-10-15% of the membership actually does something
-No company, business or household will donate cause we are looking for donaters to help support us on constructing our new building
-county wont give us money to help with our fundraiser
- and due to the economy everyone is greedy with there money or the would rather throw it away or scrap it out for cash before they give it away

------ the state of maryland sucks -----

this is why i was just asking

09-04-2008, 02:17 AM
You really need to ask people what they are willing to do. You seem to have this pre-conceived notion that no one will help you. I think if you try the right avenues, you will find many people willing to give. The problem is, it takes work.

My haunt is used to support a local youth club keeping kids off the street after school and providing homework help and a free meal. I would love to receive a bunch of free props, but I know I am not the only not for profit haunt out there, so I hit the streets and did my own discovery efforts.

Here is what I have found, garage sales will generate some of the best stuff you can imagine. They are cheap, and if you talk to the person about what you are doing, they will generally cut you a deal. Then they will find something else in the house that will also work. You have to look around the outside of local businesses and find things you could use, then ask the right person. The PR person for the company. Most companies have to pay someone to haul off old wood pallets or packing boxes, see if you can take some of that stuff.

Finally, new props will not make your hayride any more scary. Props are great, they add detail, but your actors and your set-up scare people, not props.

If people say your hayride is not scary enough, find out why. Is it too light out, too predictable, are the actors too far away. Do the people ever have to get out and walk in the dark.

Just off the top of my head, if I was doing a hayride, some easy scares would be to plant an actor in the wagon and have him start convulsing or something during the ride. Fake a tractor break down and make the people get off and walk through the woods. Make your path very narrow with blinds of somesort so actors can be right on top of the hayride unnoticed before the jump out at them.

Attack the wagon from odd angles, someone up in the tree above the wagon, from behind, from underneath.

Plant an actor on the wagon and have someone come snatch her off the wagon.

There are a ton of things you can do to make it scarier without needing expensive props.

09-04-2008, 09:12 PM
first off and i quote " You seem to have this pre-conceived notion that no one will help you. I think if you try the right avenues, you will find many people willing to give. The problem is, it takes work." What the hell is up with that?? None of that is true. Like i said before this is strictly volunteers straight from the fire department no one from the outside can help to many issues to deal with. 10-15% of the people is figued out of a roster of 90 members. this is why i wrote this post, just asking for ways to get props donated for this event to help fill in empty spots that are not occupated by other FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMBERS, I didnt come on here straight up asking anyone on here to give me stuff. come on people. For example, has anyone tried to get donations from say HAUNTEDPROPS.COM IF SO could you please tell me how you did so. this is what i was asking for. or if someone had old surplus stuff they were willing to give away. This post has shifted to other things other than what i started. maybe this helps out not trying to be a dick like what was said on here before just looking for what i am asking for.

09-04-2008, 10:58 PM
Hey disturbed, relax dude.

Again I will say, I don't think you have exhausted your resources if you have only hit up your 90 volunteers.

Here are some of the groups I hit up AFTER I talked to the volunteers from our youth club.

The local church thrift shop - Ask to go through their "back room" that has all the crap they don't want to sell in the main show room. You'll be amazed at the props you can find.

E-mail all your friends and co-workers a list of what you are trying to do, they will surprise you with some of the creative things they have to give.

Contact the local churches that have teenagers going through confirmation. These kids need service hours. You tell me, would you rather do community service working a haunted hayride or picking up trash along a highway.

Contact the local colleges, many of them require their students to get out into the community for service projects, again, free actors.

Find local businesses that have scrap dumpsters, look at what they pay to have hauled off, then if it is useful, ask them if you can have some of it.

My best find was the church ran thrift shop. The director loves haunted houses, she took us to the back room. In one trip, this is what she gave us for nothing more than "just make a donation sometime, I don't care how much"

An organ, 4 hospital beds, 2 stretchers, one 1950 style gurney, 3 wheel chairs, 10 doors, 50 computer speakers (rigged with motion sensors and an i-pod), extension cords, 3 air compressors with minor leaks, a 20 x 20 tent, 12 chairs that look like a 1970 hospital waiting room, various wood, a pulpit, an old cabinet TV, PVC fencing, lamps, lights, a 12 foot wide inflatable pumpkin.

My point is, don't stop with just your volunteers, keep pushing other avenues.

09-04-2008, 11:17 PM
sorry if im jumpy just so little time and so much to do. Like i said with the volunteers the fire daprtment membership in general will not let anyone from the community participate in this function, Fire department members only. To much of a liability and then having to get insurance to cover everyone is way to much. That means NO church, youth club, college volunteers etc etc etc. My fellow firw members are straight up lazy. I would love to see them let me go down that avenue but it just wont happen.

09-04-2008, 11:32 PM
No problem we are all feeling the pinch.

When you said no one else could help, I thought you meant with donations, but you meant with acting on the nights of the hayride. That's tough, by the time you use someone to take the money and someone to drive the tractor, you don't have many actors left.

tought situation.

Other than local businesses and the thrift shops, I don't know of anyone donating full fledged haunted house props.

09-04-2008, 11:51 PM
thank you for getting what i was trying to say. This is the whole reason i am on here. Just trying to find static props to fill in the big voids in the years haunt. Working on getting more FD members to help but it wont happen. I keep emailing some of the haunted hhouse suppliers but they wont write back, getting fed up with this whole adventure and getting the run around. maybe ill find something soon.:mad::mad:

by the way hope there is no hard feelings and maybe we can be friends:D:D