Strategic Plan sets direction for organization’s future -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Strategic Plan sets direction for organization’s future

By Jonathan Reckford

As many of you know, Habitat for Humanity International has spent the past year generating, researching and evaluating the goals, objectives and initiatives that comprise our five-year strategic plan. The plan itself signifies an important step in the growth of our organization. It paints a picture of where we’re going and provides a framework to align the diverse activities of our ministry to most effectively support our mission.

The plan lays out a bold new vision: “Mobilizing people, and financial and social capital, HFHI will demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus Christ by serving as a partner and catalyst for worldwide access to decent, safe, affordable housing.” It recognizes that Habitat can never eliminate substandard housing by itself, but that through ever-expanding collaborations, our ministry will launch a more efficient, more effective fight against poverty and its causes.

One of the most exciting aspects of this plan for me is that it builds upon our core ministry of partnering with families to build homes and adds to that new efforts necessary to significantly impact poverty housing. Since its inception, HFHI has gone about the business of creating new organizations at the national and local levels, each with the ability to deliver decent, affordable housing through a variety of innovative channels. And we’ve done quite well. In less than 30 years, we’ve served families in nearly 100 countries and impacted the lives of more than a million people. In the next five years, we will more fully leverage our global reach through more extensive partnerships, advocating for good housing policy and resources, finding new sources of funding and developing our leaders.

This strategic plan marks a shift in the business model of HFHI. While we still recognize the importance of continued support for our covenant partners (national organizations and affiliates), we also want to begin maximizing the opportunities that our ministry’s network really provides. A quick look at the initiatives reveals a plan for mobilizing the untapped capacity of this ministry at the international level. The strategic plan calls for global public awareness and advocacy campaigns such as the ONE Campaign; new financial services that will make funds more easily available for affiliates and national organizations; and an emphasis on exploration of new partnerships that will allow us to reach a broader demographic than ever before. For example we have already begun to develop new services through micro-finance institutions that are improving the living conditions of families in many of the most impoverished areas in which we serve. This plan will effectively move what has been an exclusively supportive function for our local affiliates to one that not only supports them, but that also works alongside them in the fight against poverty housing around the world.

As we look toward the implementation of this plan in the coming years, there are many more challenges that lie ahead. For the ministry to operate as effectively as possible, we will need to place a heavy emphasis on prioritization of activity and strategic investment of our limited resources. I would encourage our national organizations and affiliates to consider how they might align their operations to most appropriately support this new direction.

While this plan does lay out a bold new vision for our organization and this ministry, I take heart in the fact that in the center of that vision we find our work still driven by the love and teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe strongly that this strategic direction is faithful to our core principles and increases the chance to make sustainable, transformational impact around the world. With God’s leadership and direction, we step into the rushing waters toward the Promised Land—the land where every family has a decent, affordable home.

Our theme this year has been “much to celebrate, more to build,” which calls us to appreciate the remarkable ways God has worked through Habitat and focus on the future. To that end, the strategic plan lays an intentional groundwork that will position this organization to serve more families, through discipline, stewardship and a shared commitment to the core values that have sustained this work for three decades. For so long Habitat focused on expanding its geographic reach. In the next five years, together, we will begin to leverage the full potential of this truly global ministry.

Jonathan Reckford is the president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.