Situation: Habitat for Humanity is a not-for-profit, Christian housing ministry which partners with the community to provide affordable housing for low-income families. Each home is purchased by the family for the value of the materials without charge for the volunteer labor or allowance for profit. Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity (GDM Habitat) was founded in 1986; by 2003 the organization was well established, but not attracting the donations, volunteers and other resources — or public attention — desired to help families in Central Iowa achieve home ownership.
Strategy & tactics: Hanser & Associates reached out to the organization’s leaders in 2003. The firm wrote a strategic public relations plan and began providing pro-bono PR services, including media relations and public information materials. We also place hundreds of news stories annually about GDM Habitat home builds and other programs, and Des Moines media often turn out to report the news. We also helped the organization introduce new fundraising and volunteer recruitment initiatives to the community, including participation in large annual consumer home shows.
Results: GDM Habitat — with 10,000 volunteers and strong support from the community — has created 262 homeownership opportunities and served 582 families through Rock the Block® in Greater Des Moines as of 2015. Plans call for an increase in building and renovating homes, continued collaborative partnerships that provide housing solutions, and growing our impact on neighborhood transformation.