I’ve been fortunate to be a volunteer for Disaster Corps. I originally got involved with Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I participated in a Carter Work Project in the city, then helped with fundraising. I’ve since been sent on two other deployments to disaster affected areas in the United States to help Habitat affiliates raise funds to rebuild. While these deployments have been in different states, the problems have always been the same - lack of funds.
While many Habitat affiliates are familiar with raising money from individuals or businesses in their community they are not familiar with applying for grants from government and foundations. Significant money can be raised from these sources and need to be an essential part of a fundraising strategy. The best way to find these funds is through www.grants.gov and www.foundationcenter.org. Another great source of information is my.habitat.org, including the fundraising section features webinars and resources for raising funds. Also, the Habitat gifts-in-kind catalogue has fantastic free building materials that can be ordered.
I was recently at an affiliate in Massachusetts who was reluctant to apply for government funds because of perceived red tape or strings attached, but after some convincing they were successful at getting government funds.
I would advise anyone who is trying to help affiliates to raise money to be realistic about the expectations as to the amount of money that can be raised. Everyone’s heart is in the right place as they want to rebuild homes that have been destroyed very quickly but fundraising takes time and patience.
I have to do a lot of fundraising in my regular job as a television producer, so decided to put those skills to good use helping charities raise money. My work takes me to lots of interesting places and I’ve returned from Egypt where I was filming a video series on mummies. You can view my work at www.newexplorer.tv.
When not working I like to study forensics or work in my garden, sometimes I combine the two with my black thumb by killing many plants. I’ve really enjoyed my work with Disaster Corps and found it to be one of the most fulfilling events in my life.