Thought Center

habitat for humanity

Creative Fundraising – Poker Anyone?

I have represented non-profits for almost a decade so I appreciate how difficult fundraising can be, especially in this economy.   Although there are many ways to support an organization that don’t involve fundraising, such as advocacy and volunteering, funding is the most critical need.  For this reason, and because I am a self-proclaimed marketing dork, I love celebrating creative fundraising and the folks who make it happen.

Meet the Beach Cities Friends.  This organization was started in 2002 by a group of friends here in the South Bay, who had a desire to give back to the community.  They began volunteering, raising money and advocating for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  Their fundraising started simple – dinner parties in their home that educated friends about the organization and asking them to get involved – and it has grown to include annual events that raise enough to sponsor homes.

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Local Faith Communities Unite for Inaugural Interfaith Build Week with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles

Volunteers Put Faith into Action to Rehabilitate Two Lynwood Homes

Los Angeles, CA – November 26, 2012: The need for affordable housing brought together volunteers from the faith traditions of Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, the Religious Society of Friends and Unitarian Universalism for the first Interfaith Build Week in Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A.’s (HFH GLA) history. Volunteers from eight faith traditions built alongside each other November 14-17th to complete renovation projects on two homes being rehabilitated in Lynwood, which will be sold to qualified, low-income families. Faith leaders from greater Los Angeles emphasized the importance of setting aside differences in order to build hope, lives and communities in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

“So many rich faith traditions exist in the communities we serve here in greater Los Angeles,” said Erin Rank, President/CEO of HFH GLA.

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Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles Transforms Seven Blighted Homes in South Gate and Celebrates with New Homeowners in Dedication Ceremony

South Gate Mayor, HUD representative, City Officials, Volunteers& New Partner Homeowners Join in Ribbon Cutting Event

Los Angeles, CA – November 21, 2012: The Neighborhood Stabilization Program2 (NSP2) was established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to stabilize neighborhoods whose viability has been and continues to be damaged by foreclosed and abandoned properties. Through the NSP2 program, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (HFH GLA)has partnered with the City of South Gate to purchase 32 foreclosed homes; rehabilitate them with volunteer support and sell them to qualified low-income homebuyers.NSP2 has allowed HFH GLA to serve more families and individuals in greater Los Angeles through the rehabilitation of more than 100 homes and contribute to the area economy by utilizing the services of local companies.

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Lowe’s Joins Habitat for Humanity to Provide Funds, Volunteers For Power Women Power Tools and Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ Premier Build Weekend Event Announced for Sept. 29-30, 2012

Los Angeles, CA – August 6, 2012: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles announced today Lowe’s will return as the “Diamond Hammer” (title corporate partner) of its premier build events, Power Women Power Tools (PWPT) and the Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon (HFHFH BAT).

More than 500 volunteers will participate in the events at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30. The volunteers will build walls, which will be used for future home construction in the local community. Lowe’s became the title corporate partner for the events in 2011 and since then has committed more than $500,000 to revitalize communities throughout greater Los Angeles.

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Construction is Underway on 2012 Thrivent Builds® Home in Partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles

7th Local Home Sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a Dream Come True for a Hardworking Single Mother

Los Angeles, CA – June 20, 2012: This past Saturday, the local Lutheran faith community, Thrivent Financial, the City of Lynwood and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (HFH GLA) gathered to celebrate the beginning of construction on the 2012 Thrivent Builds home in Lynwood. Yadira Luna is purchasing and building the home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. As part of the Thrivent Builds partnership, 20 Lutheran congregations are contributing 50% of the volunteer hours and 10% of the funding needed to build Luna’s home. Construction is scheduled for completion in December of this year.

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Local Volunteers will Build Affordable Housing with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles During National Volunteer Week

 Volunteer Activities Taking Place in Greater Los Angeles April 15 – 21, 2012 

Los Angeles, CA – April 17, 2012: National Volunteer Week, an annual event that encourages people to get engaged with their local communities, takes place April 15 to 21. During National Volunteer Week, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (HFH GLA) will be welcoming volunteers to its build sites, Gardena and Norwalk ReStores, offices and special events as well as celebrating the important role that they play in building affordable housing. Construction volunteers must be 16 years or older and ReStore volunteers need only be 14 years old to participate in the nationwide event. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up online at

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Are You Making it Easy for People to Talk About You?

Personalized Tweet Zone sign from Lakers build day in L.A.

Here’s a simple and effective tip to help you promote your business or upcoming event.

Create a sign that reminds your customers or guests to update their status about you.  Here’s an example of a “Tweet Zone” we helped create for our client Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  They host up to 25 volunteers on each of their build sites five days a week and you can imagine how many of them have smart phones.  They designed this sandwich board that can be updated with an event hashtag very easily.  It also serves as a reminder to move away from the building activity and hard hat areas to safely post their status updates.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on signage, you can install a chalkboard or dry erase board at your location/event or order low cost business cards and pass them out.

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My Life as an Intern and Storyteller

Savanah Wernick interned with Starfish PR during the summer of 2010 & 2011. I just love this post she wrote for us following her first tour in 2010.  She is a total team player and we will always cherish this little fish!  

To be labeled an “intern” doesn’t indicate much responsibility. When you tell someone you’re an intern, the same question stings the conversation every time. “Oh, how nice,” they say, “is it paid?” You reply no, they nod, and immediately formulate assumptions that don’t give you much credit. She’s just there to watch. She’ll be the one getting the coffee, walking the dogs.

To be fair, these conclusions aren’t completely off the mark. In the setting of a large, multi-level business, it’s easy to imagine those who are not on payroll to get lost in the shuffle.

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