It began as a simple vision to help low-income families own affordable homes, but it has become an international organization providing everything from housing assistance to disaster relief. Habitat for Humanity, one of the most recognized charitable organizations in the world, has been working for nearly four decades to make sure everyone has a decent place to live.
Habitat has been a model of successful, faith-based service from its inception. The organization’s emphasis on sweat equity, affordable quality, and local involvement has resulted in steady growth throughout the world. More than four million people worldwide have been served and over 800,000 homes have been built or repaired.
What’s more, Habitat has found unique ways to get community involvement at all levels. If your business or employees would like a way to give back personally, and not just with financial contributions, Habitat for Humanity has an answer to fit your service goals.
Bring in a speaker. Maybe community service is a new undertaking for your company. If that’s the case, Lance Henning, Executive Director of Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, suggests having a Habitat representative speak at your next company meeting. “We will gladly send someone to speak to any size group to explain how Habitat works and the impact it has in our community.”
The Habitat speaker will highlight both the mission of Habitat and the numerous ways you and your employees can get involved. It’s a great way to inform your team about opportunities and get them excited about participating in projects that bring big change right to your own community.
Become a marketing partner. Another creative way to partner with Habitat is to establish a cause marketing partnership, which commits a percentage of qualified retail sales to support Habitat’s work. Your business can select key products or services, create specially branded packaging, and promote these items to consumers. When they purchase these specific products, your customers have the satisfaction of knowing they’re supporting Habitat. And your business supports the organization as well.
Donate products. If you’re in the construction trade, you can also donate products and tools in addition to time and expertise.
“Material donations usually go to our ReStore,” Henning says, “and the proceeds go directly back into the Habitat projects. But we often have framers, plumbers, builders, or other contractors take on an individual project and provide the materials or the labor or both to complete that home.”
Swing a hammer. The most popular way for businesses and individuals to support Habitat is by hands-on work at one of Habitat’s construction or repair sites. Your business can send an entire team of workers, skilled or not, any time of year.
“We have year-round activities,” Henning explains. “In the off-season we do Panel Builds at our indoor location and repair or rehab projects, too.”
Special Programs. Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity organizes a number of special work opportunities to get community members involved throughout the year. Henning says, “We do theme builds on a regular basis, not just to promote specific projects but to keep people involved in what we’re doing every day.” Examples of the programs are Women’s Build, Rock the Block, Winter Warriors, and Panel Builds.
During April and May 2014, Greater Des Moines Habitat will be sponsoring two Rock the Block events; the goal is to complete construction or repairs on up to 25 homes in one week. And the organization has introduced on-site Panel Builds, which brings the work directly to your corporate location. “We build wall panels right in your company parking lot or other designated site,” Henning says. “We bring all the materials to you, and your employees can sign up to work designated hours during their normal workday.”
Whether you’ve volunteered in the past or just thought about volunteering, whether you’re a seasoned construction professional or someone who’s never hammered a nail, Habitat for Humanity has a place for you. And your volunteer time does more than save money or leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. It guarantees that someone in need has a decent place to live. That’s time well spent.