Fundraising Superheroes Episode 23: Habitat for Humanity Brant-Norfolk Is No Stranger to Dealing With Crisis




Lynda Henriksen is the Director of Fund Development and Communications at the Habitat for Humanity Brant-Norfolk. She has been helping organizations fundraise for decades, she came on the show to discuss how Habitat for Humanity has been helping families feel empowered along with the challenges they are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

What is interesting about Habitat for Humanity’s situation during the pandemic is that they are not only a non profit organization but provide housing and have resale stores. Their Habitat resale stores were where they received a lot of their funding so when the virus hit they had to create a plan to react to the change of income along with supporting their Habitat homes.

However, they are no stranger to dealing with crises. The people that come to Habitat for Humanity for help are dealing with crises on a daily basis. Lynda explains "As an organization who is working in partnership with families who are no strangers to crisis, we are also no stranger to crisis. We have insight and a window into what life is like when you're living in instability and crisis on a daily basis, and that’s what we want to get in front of.”

When talking to donors about getting support Lyda doesn’t approach it as an ask, but an invitation. She says "it’s always an invitation to support our organization and give them the opportunity to support people”. During the pandemic one thing Habitat for Humanity Brant-Norfolk looked at is their relevance during this time and the fact was that it is hard for people to self-isolate if they don’t have a safe place to come home to. 

Lynda communicated Habitat’s role to the community and has been relying on their database with Donor Engine to help them with this communication. Using the database they were able to clean up their data and be more specific with their outreach. To keep their donors up to date they sent out an all-points bulletin letting them know how they are handling the situation and also thanked them for their support.. "We wanted to make sure we got the message out there to say thank you for trusting us, thank you for supporting us, thank you for doing your part to follow the recommendations of our public agencies”. 

Overall, Lynda encourages nonprofits to focus on the core of their organization’s mission to get them through this time. Even though times are tough, Habitat’s goal is to put their people first. "The foundation of who we are is that we are a habitat for humanity” therefore they are here to serve humanity and help out those in need.

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