The Power of Small Gifts

Habitat home in Athens, GA
A Habitat Home in Athens, GA, built with the help of Committee of 1000

Did you know… if a thousand people gave just $70 each, that’s enough to build a new 3-bedroom, 2-bath home for a family in Athens, GA.

Every year, Athens Area Habitat for Humanity expands the rolls of its Committee of 1000, a group of local citizens who pool their giving to literally build their community by helping to construct and renovate affordable housing in Clarke, Oconee, and Oglethorpe counties.  And this year, Athens Hab kicks off its campaign on Giving Tuesday, November 28th, with a newly updated, secure online donation page.

Habitat volunteer
Habitat volunteer on build site

“In 2017, donors want more choices,” says Habitat’s outreach director, Bridget Sivewright.  “Over half our donations are made on mobile devices now. And these days, people expect options like automatic monthly or annual gifts, corporate as well as individual giving, and gifts in honor of a loved one.  By working with DonorView, we can offer all that within our own secure website.”

But there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes at Athens Habitat when it comes to better serving their donors.  “We used to use a third-party payment service that’s been around a while,” says marketing director Paul Farr, “but there were practically no options and folks had to go off our site to donate.  So over the summer we worked with Velocity Technology Partners and AT&T to build a new secure network, which lets us take donations directly through our site.”

“Our community partners make all this happen,” says outreach director Sivewright.  “Everyone who donates to the Committee of 1000 receives an invitation to our annual gala, which this year is made possible by a grant from Thrivent Financial and the sponsorship of Georgian Hall where the event will be held. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”

Buffet at Georgian Hall, Athens
Georgian Hall (above) and Thrivent Financial sponsor Committee of 1000 promotions and events

“Partnerships with national organizations like Thrivent and local sponsors like Georgian Hall are absolutely critical,” notes Athens Hab’s executive director Spencer Frye.  “By underwriting our promotions and events, they let us channel local donations into the mission itself, into building homes, building new neighborhoods like Carpenter Circle, renovating abandoned properties.  Because that’s what people are donating for when they join Committee of 1000, and that’s what we come to work every day to do.  Indirectly, they make projects like our ReNew Athens neighborhood revitalization initiative on Magnolia Terrace possible by supporting the collateral stuff and letting us concentrate on affordable housing.”

There are many ways to support Habitat — by volunteering, by donating items to the ReStores or shopping there, or by donating cash.  The new donation page makes it easier to support Habitat’s mission directly.  “We love our volunteers,” says Sivewright, “and we have tremendous community support.  But without our cash donors, we wouldn’t be building houses.  We apply for grants, and we raise a lot of funding through our ReStores, but without local donors we couldn’t fit the entire puzzle together to make it happen.”

Homes on Magnolia Terrace, Athens, GA
Newly renovated duplexes on Magnolia Terrace, part of Athens Habitat’s ReNew Athens program

“What’s unique about Habitat is that you can literally see the impact of your donations, and you can see it locally,” says marketing director Farr.  “We’ve built over 80 homes in the Athens area so far, and when the Magnolia Terrace project is complete we’ll have some 50 rental units, all of which in turn help to fund further construction of affordable housing that residents can really be proud of.  We loved it this year when two Habitat houses were included on the Tour of Modern Homes.  It proves that housing can be built efficiently, and be a place that a family’s happy to come home to.”

Members of the Committee of 1000 come from all walks of life, including Habitat staff, members of local government, business owners, and Habitat homeowners. “Everyone is welcome here,” says director Frye. “It’s something just about everyone can do. Each year when I go to the gala, and I see folks from across the map, from all income levels, all backgrounds, all faiths, coming together to celebrate what we can build together, it gives me hope.”

If you’d like to help build our community and provide strength, stability, and self-reliance to local neighbors, you can join the Committee of 1000, 2017-18, by making a contribution of $70 or more to Athens Area Habitat before the end of the year. Donations are tax-deductible, and will be used locally.

To join the committee, just click the button below.  You’ll receive an invitation to the celebration by email when dates are finalized.  Thanks in advance for your support.