When you make a monetary donation to a non-profit organization, how would you like to see that money spent? I believe that most of us would be (A) pleased if our donation went towards the stated mission of the organization (e.g. feeding the hungry), (B) less than enchanted but,nevertheless, understanding if our donation went to help pay the salaries of the staff or the everyday operating bills of the organization and (C) looking for another organization to support if our donation was being spent in an effort to try and acquire more donations.
Historically, non-profit organizations in the United States have relied almost entirely on philanthropy to fund their efforts. Some organizations may bring in a small amount of earned revenue to try and minimize their losses (e.g. charging a fee for adopting an animal), but the fact remains, most would not exist without donation dollars funding 80, 90, or even 100% of their operations. It is a model which, in times of widespread economic distress, can leave the organization fighting for its very existence at the very moment its services are needed most.
At the Washington County Habitat for Humanity, our business model is different.
Every month, almost forty families who partnered with our affiliate to build their home make a mortgage payment to us. Having already paid the costs of building those homes, we now use the monthly payments as a revenue stream to help fund operations.
Our self-reliance does not stop there. Our ReStore, the net profit from which has, for some time now, helped fund the operation of our affiliate, has just completed a record-setting twelve month period that has our organization knocking on the door of self-sustainability.
Does this mean we no longer need the help of our donors? Just the opposite. What this means to you, our donors, is that we have put ourselves in a position to maximize the impact of your donation. Now, your donation will go specifically towards the stated mission of our organization ( please see ( A) above).
Our affiliate finds itself in the midst of a construction cycle double our historical average, as we hope to put our fourth partner family in a home of their own in less than one calendar year. Although this provides us with a high degree of satisfaction, our only thought is that we can do more. We need your support to make that happen. Help us to build more homes. We'll take care of the rest.
Welcome to the non-profit business model of tomorrow. Welcome to the Washington County Habitat for Humanity.