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Affinity Organizations

Minority organizations within a fire department are the greatest resource in building diversity. Affinity groups, such as an Hispanic organization or woman's group, provide a specific perspective and can also assist the department in its recruitment efforts. Affiliates that do not have a constituency group can look to other organizations within the community or even the AFL-CIO.

An affinity organization or constituency group's goal is to promote and support its members. It is crucial that relationships between affinity organizations and the local be strengthened, both for mutual aid and as a service to members. Affinity members can provide crucial advice when creating and implementing a targeted recruitment program. Essentially, an alliance is created where both parties assist one another towards a common goal.

One western U.S. local understands how crucial its relationship with affinity organizations has been in increasing diversity in its department. Affinity organizations play a key role in bringing in new and quality candidates to the fire service. These organizations actively look for potential applicants and encourage them to consider a career in fire fighting. Because the City does not have a large recruitment program or budget, it relies on word of mouth and these relationships to increase minority recruitment. The local's cohesive relationship with the groups wasn't always as strong as is today, but it has been able to work with other groups to strengthen the voice for fire fighters. The local now endorses political candidates and stays active in City politics, in addition to finding excellent minority recruit fire fighters.

Fire fighters

How to

  • Create a minority outreach list to organize contacts.
    Download: Sample Minority Outreach List
  • Assist affinity organizations with their events and programs and vice-versus.
  • Feature affinity organizations on the local or department website if possible.

 



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