Helping Associations Help Members in Need
The unpredictable nature of the job is one of the things that makes the law enforcement profession so unique — and so dangerous. We never know what will happen during the course of our duties or whether we’ll make it back home at the end of a shift. That’s why when tragedies befall our colleagues — whether it’s a line-of-duty death or a near-fatal injury — it hits us hard and offers a sobering reminder of the nature of the job.
These incidents not only draw a strong emotional reaction from the law enforcement community, but also galvanize them to do anything they can to help the officer or their family get back on their feet. Often this help comes in the form of donations collected via online fundraising and crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe and JustGiving. Numerous PORAC members throughout the years have contributed to or established such online campaigns to raise much-needed funds for one of their own.
Seeing that many associations stepped up to help officers and their families in this way sparked an idea within Vice President Damon Kurtz: Why not create a fundraising platform specifically developed for law enforcement, by law enforcement? That’s when Fund a Hero — PORAC’s new in-house fundraising platform for members — was born.
“Our associations were founded on the principle of helping our members and their families in need,” Kurtz says. “Fund a Hero was created with this in mind, and it’s free to the membership.”
Kurtz notes that the free aspect of Fund a Hero is especially important because many outside platforms subtract costly fees from the overall funds raised in a campaign, which means the intended recipients receive less than what was actually contributed by donors. Believing that every cent should go to the member in need, Kurtz advocated for PORAC to create its own system exclusively for the membership, one where members would not only not have to worry about losing funds, but also be assured that their money was going to a trusted source that would quickly and efficiently distribute 100% of the proceeds safely and securely to the recipients.
President Brian Marvel adds that another important aspect of Fund a Hero is that it protects members from donating to fake campaigns. Far too often, he says, after a line-of-duty death, there are thieves who capitalize on the tragedy by creating fundraising pages posing as family members of the fallen officer. They then end up stealing funds meant for survivors.
“With scammers constantly taking advantage of very tragic incidents, we felt it was the responsibility of PORAC to provide our members and the law enforcement families with a free fundraising platform that would ensure legitimacy and peace of mind when donating,” Marvel says.
How It Works
In order to start the process, members must first register their fundraiser to be approved by PORAC. Head to PORAC.org/fundraisers/register-a-fundraiser and choose from three fundraising campaign categories:
- Line-of-duty deaths
- Medical needs/expenses
PORAC will ask for the goal amount to be raised, the campaign title and more information about what the funds will be used for. There are also a few questions for the individual requesting the campaign. Once approved, the fundraiser will be added to PORAC’s campaign wall. Associations and members will then be able to raise awareness for their fundraiser and increase campaign engagement by sharing information about it on their social media pages or at chapter meetings.
“Members can rest easy knowing that it’s PORAC overseeing the campaign and payouts, not a faceless non-law-enforcement website,” Kurtz says. “It’s real people at PORAC Headquarters who care about our members,” Marvel adds.