Starting a CERT Program
Step 4: Acquiring Training Materials
Ideas for Obtaining CERT Resources
This job aid presents some sources of funding or in-kind contributions, in addition to agency support, that have been successful for CERT Program Coordinators. As you review the list, consider your community. You may identify other sources for the resources you need.
As you arrange for funding, remember that most communities will not establish a separate account for CERT funds. Be sure to check with the appropriate personnel locally to determine the process required to receive funding for the CERT program.
- Request a line item in the community budget. Communities that are committed to emergency preparedness and response may be able to support at least part of your program costs on a continuing basis.
- Charge a fee.Some communities charge a fee to cover the costs of their materials and equipment. While this is not the preferred method for funding CERT programs, it is a viable alternative in some communities. Be careful if you plan to develop CERTs in low-income areas. Many residents in low-income areas cannot afford to pay for a CERT program and will not be able to attend if there are out-of-pocket costs involved.
Businesses may be more willing to pay for CERT training because they can show a direct benefit to their operations. One community charged businesses for the training, explaining that this money would be used to support neighborhood training.
- Solicit donations. Some corporations, businesses, and service clubs have a history of supporting community programs and include it in their donations plan. Try to determine how CERT can benefit them and can fit into their donations plan before you approach them. The worst thing that can happen is that they will say no. When soliciting donations, ensure that you recognize business contributions on your website or in your newsletter.
- Solicit in-kind contributions.Corporations may be more willing to donate materials or supplies for CERTs, rather than money. If this is the case, try to gain donations for items that are critical to the program. You will need hardhats, flashlights, batteries, rope, printing services, recharging of fire extinguishers, and a lot more. Offer attribution as a sponsor of CERT programs in exchange for the donation, and follow up with a formal thank you.
Also, utility companies have a track record for providing the mockups you'll need to demonstrate how to turn off gas and electrical utilities. Approach your local utilities to explain your program. You might be surprised at what they'll offer. (They may also have supplemental training programs to offer your CERT graduates.)
- Apply for a grant. FEMA is making grant funding available to States for local CERT training. If you are beginning a CERT in a school district, grant money may be available under the Federal "Safe Schools" program. Additionally, some corporations also offer grants for specific causes, including emergency preparedness. Remember, though, that grant funding is temporary. Even if you get a grant to get your program started, you will have to find a permanent source of funding for program maintenance.
- Establish a Not-For-Profit Organization. Some CERTs have established themselves as not-for-profit organizations, which are also called organizations. Organizations need to complete and submit an application for status and, typically, CERTs that have done so, are well established rather than startup groups. However, if CERTs can be organized as organizations, they are able to raise funds through tax-deductible contributions from donors.