On Monday, April 22, the Jimmy Carter Work Project team in Durban, South Africa, began broadcasting a daily radio update on East Coast Radio, one of the largest stations in the Durban area and a sponsor of the event. The daily updates are done by Sue Johnson, the JCWP Kwa Zulu Natal Donor Coordinator, with Damon Beard, host of East Coast Radio's popular "Rush Hour Ride" show.
"This has proved a highly effective volunteer recruitment strategy, " says Samantha Schroeder, JCWP project communications coordinator. " Donors are coming forward; corporations are sponsoring teams; individuals are calling and wanting to get involved. The momentum is really growing."
Volunteer teams from groups as diverse as Horizon Farms, a home for young adults with Down's syndrome, to a group of 60 Unilever employees have signed up in response to the radio updates.
The daily updates have proved an effective way to publicize the Jimmy Carter Work Project's sponsors, while the regular "Request of the Day" feature has given organizers a daily opportunity to seek donations of specific items needed to make the enormous event go smoothly. During a Tuesday show, for example, Johnson made a request for 25 shipping containers. By Thursday, Container Leasing Africa had donated the 25 much-needed containers. Listeners have caught the excitement that comes through the daily show and called to make individual donations.
"One anonymous donor phoned in to pledge R10,000 (nearly $1,000US), as well as the cost of blocks for one house," says Schroeder.
"Rush Hour Ride" listeners also responded positively to an interview with Roanne Dennis, a future homeowner, and Stuart Wilson, a volunteer. Interviews with more homeowner families and volunteers will continue in the days to come and during the daily broadcasts that East Coast Radio will air during the JCWP blitz.
"Without ECR we would not have reached our goal of 3,000 volunteers," says Steven Zubkoff, project director for JCWP. "In six weeks we have raised R1,063,870 in cash and in-kind donations and they are still pouring in! Most importantly, these donors are local South Africans and will continue to support the program after JCWP."
The Jimmy Carter Work Project is the biggest event staged by Habitat for Humanity, requiring months of planning and a staggering amount of goods and services to support the work of thousands of volunteers. And while an affiliate may have enough tools for its normal building projects, the 100-house JCWP blitz build makes it necessary to borrow a good many extras. Habitat attempts to get as many "in kind" donations as possible to meet these needs, leaving donated funds available for house building. Read on for a sampling of the services and goods that have been requested during the daily radio updates on East Coast Radio.
Chocolate bars, biscuits (crackers), chips, energy bars, water and energy
5,000 rolls of toilet paper
1,000 rolls of paper towels
30,000 serviettes (napkins)
125 cell phones and cell booths on site for use by volunteers
Trucks and cars
Variety of tools
Forty people to control traffic and help with on-site transportation
Skilled volunteers (especially electricians and plumbers)
Local volunteers to help with registration and welcoming 1,000 international volunteers at the airport and hotels
Some of these needs may have been met since they were publicized on the air. For a current "wish list," e-mail Sue Johnson at email@example.com.