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Continuing the National Women Build Week spirit year round

National Women Build Week 2012: Rochester, New York
By Deanna Varble


Karen Kall, Flower City Habitat’s 2012 Women Build Chair from On Kall Women for Habitat, poses on ground breaking day with a golden shovel and her famous bejeweled hardhat.


Members from Flower City Habitat’s 2012 Women Build teams pose on ground breaking day in the purple hardhats they received upon starting their online donation website.


Tiffany Paine, associate manager of Outside Constituent Groups and Women Build team member, sports her 2012 Women Build achievement badges.


At Flower City Habitat for Humanity in Rochester, New York, our Women Build program is an eight-month long celebration, including National Women Build Week in May.

Our women volunteers are also fundraisers, whose “teams” spend most of the eight months asking their friends, family and coworkers for donations towards the year’s Women Build home.

Social micro-fundraising has helped us successfully build two of our eight Women Build homes and now enables us to host a Women Build annually versus our past schedule of every three years.

For affiliates currently participating in National Women Build Week, the media blitz, heightened volunteer motivation and frenzy of women builders on the construction site may be overwhelming with the thought of turning the week into a year-round project.

But for us, it provides a focused year-round motivation and media communications plan that strategically hits our audiences on a regular basis. Women Build has become more than a media event for us — it’s something that we just do; something that we just get; something that we just are.

We are constantly looking for ways to keep our teams involved, our donors informed, and our media engaged.

This year, along with the teams’ guest bartending nights, media-centered photo-ops, personalized online donations sites, and social media/email donations, we’ve added:

  • Fundraising juice boost sessions
    Past teams share successful fundraising ideas with new teams and local marketing experts give advice on best practices.
  • Our Women Build blog
    Teams get tips and tricks on how to create and use technology like quick response codes in their fundraising and communications, and donors/media get a weekly view of house building and fundraising progress.
  • Achievement badges
    Earned by Women Build team members who attend Women Build events for education, volunteering and fundraising. The winner of the most badges gets the honor of presenting our homeowner with the hammer at the dedication.

These engagement tactics don’t take a lot of money, but they do take some planning and dedication. In the end, we think it’s worth it — helping us reach 146 fundraisers who have reached out to 636 donors and raised more than $27,000 in a little more than two months.

We have only just begun, but our Women Build message is loud and clear; women are a powerful philanthropic force to be reckoned with — especially when it comes to swinging a hammer and building a home.

Deanna Varble handles marketing and communications for Flower City Habitat for Humanity in Rochester, New York.