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Habitat for Humanity

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LAST UPDATED: November 3rd, 2022
Habitat for Humanity International was founded in Georgia in 1976 as a grassroots effort to increase the availability of affordable housing. In 1984, former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, became involved in the program, greatly increasing its exposure. At present, Habitat for Humanity has built homes globally and is the largest not-for-profit builder In the world. The organization receives support through volunteer builders, monetary contributions, and from its Habitat for Humanity ReStores. 

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The Good

  • Administrative expenses
  • Fundraising expenses
  • Program percentage
  • Accessible financial information
  • Donor communication

Administrative Expenses

Habitat for Humanity International's administrative expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, were reported as $12,305,756, or 4.7 percent of the organization's total annual revenue, which is relatively low when compared to other charities. Top executives for Habitat for Humanity earn just over $300,000 per year, which is significantly lower than salaries paid by similar organizations.

Fundraising Expenses

Habitat for Humanity's fundraising budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, was $40,602,123, or 15.7 percent of its annual revenue.

Program Percentage

Generally, a program delivery percentage above 80 percent is gauged as an effective use of funds by various charity watchdog organizations. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, Habitat for Humanity used 81.9 percent of its income for program delivery.

Accessible Financial Information

Habitat for Humanity International publishes its annual reports, consolidated financial statements, and IRS Form 990s from 2010 to 2015 online. These documents can be easily located on the organization's website.

Donor Communication

Donors can support Habitat for Humanity in several ways. For example, donors can offer support by volunteering time on a house build or in one of the organization's ReStore locations. Donors can also make regular monthly monetary contributions, honor or tribute donations, or support the organization with the gift of a vehicle or stocks and bonds. Donors can expect communication that is directly related to the way in which they have chosen to support the charity. Those selecting to volunteer their time will receive information about upcoming opportunities. However, anyone can sign up to receive regular updates by submitting their email address online. The organization has robust social media accounts, so interested parties can connect with or follow Habitat for Humanity on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

The Bad

  • Total income
  • Negative press
  • Solicited awards

Total Income

Habitat for Humanity International's total revenue has been decreasing for the past few years. The organization has implemented some necessary cutbacks in its program in order to offset the decreased revenue. Incomes for the past several years are as follows:
  • 2015: $252,890,636
  • 2014: $258,178,649
  • 2013: $287,676,608
  • 2012: $285,746,081

Negative Press

Nearly all organizations that are as large as Habitat for Humanity have received at least some bad press coverage. While the number of controversies that Habitat for Humanity has been involved in is relatively lower than many similar organizations, the charity has received the following negative press: Peoria, Illinois: 2013 Neighbors of a proposed Habitat home that was going to be built for a decorated war veteran petitioned to ban the home from being built. The reason? It was going to be built of wood, rather than brick, like the neighboring houses. The local affiliate for Habitat for Humanity responded by stating that misconceptions often lead to similar problems with neighbors who are fearful that they will see declines in their property values. The home was ultimately constructed with brick façades. New York City: 2012-2016 The New York affiliate for Habitat for Humanity received a $21 million federal grant to rehabilitate buildings in the city. The organization selected Bedford-Stuyvesant, a historically poor Brooklyn neighborhood. One of the government grant requirements was that the buildings must be vacant before the purchase went through to Habitat for Humanity. Up until this point, everything had gone smoothly; however, one of the owners of the properties ended up displacing residents, some of whom became homeless because they had nowhere else to live after these government-subsidized apartments were no longer available.

Solicited Awards

Habitat for Humanity has received some awards, but these awards are all from entries into a solicited contest. In other words, rather than being awarded independently, Habitat for Humanity actively competed for these awards through organized contests. While these awards should not be discredited, it's important to recognize the lengths to which the organization has gone to win them. Received rewards include:
  • Habitat for Humanity International was recognized multiple times from 2011 to 2013 with the Telly Award for its promotional and informational video productions
  • In 2012, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awarded Habitat for Humanity International with the Bronze Anvil Award, which is given to organizations for their work in public relations
  • In 2012, the League of American Communications Professionals awarded Habitat for Humanity International with a Gold Vision Award, recognizing the organization's 2012 annual report visually and for clarity of message

The Bottom Line

Habitat for Humanity International is one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States and has a unique program. The organization has low administrative expenses and a respectable program delivery percentage. However, Habitat for Humanity's annual income has been declining for the past few years and the organization has only received solicited awards.
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35 Reviews

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Jen Henry Morris Oregon City, OR

It is refreshing to know that a non-profit like Habitat for Humanity can so easily refuse new lumber supply donations in an economy of high inflation and low supply availability while at the same time insult their donors. Thanks, but no thanks. I have a brand new materials from an incorrectly built 30' x 12' covered pergola with Trex decking. The builder is going to throw it away. I asked if it could be donated. They said yes. So, I called Habitat Humanity. After the man on the phone interrupting me several times, talking over me the rest, and then insulting me by calling me "special", I hung up. Sadly, the people who need this wood will not receive it due to the insulting nature of the man on the phone. Perhaps one day they will learn how to better treat their donors. For me, never again will I reach out to this non-profit.

6 months ago

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gary shelton Lexington, SC

before habitat got big and lost sight of its purpose ,I thought it was doing a good job now that doesnt seem the goal that the original founders had in mind, when items are donated and sold they seem to be priced to make money and collect taxes on these donated items , I thought that you were a non profit org.,Is habitat a scam, the dark cloud i see when you read the reviews seems to back up the scam idea,the salaries that are reported makes me think that the people that this so called NON-PROFIT ORG needs to rethink their objectives and become more focused to the needs that they were started for. Money seems to corrupt everything. In my opinion!!

1 year ago

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TJ Lancaster, PA

I thought VOLUNTEERING for Habitat would be engaging, fun, fulfilling, community minded, uplifting, compassionate, and never imagined it would be anything like what I witnessed. After being there for a few months I realized that there were problems with a genuine lack of concern about Safety and openly acknowledged OSHA violations. And when another County Habitat folded and no one would tell us the truth as to why I knew things were bad. So after the Manager of the Restore was fired and the Ex Dir for many years was forced out, I thought things might improve but they just got worse. There have been two deaths, only one of which shows up by googling "habitat death in pa" and many injuries including broken bones and ER/Urgent Care visits for lacerations, contusions and muscles ripped off the bone. The Instructor they engaged for Forklift training refused to use it saying it was too dangerous and illegal (they had been using it for years that way) and he refused to teach us. The Emergency Exit is blocked at times by large hutches and armoires, the fire extinguishers are covered up, the box trucks operated without being inspected or being able to pass inspection, the shelves (like Lowes or Home Depot) are not bolted to the floor and the Forklift bumps into them and knocks things off of the top shelf while customers and children and dogs are right there, a metal panel sleeve on the side load out door fell from the up position after sheering off against the track and fell onto an employee (me), pallets of strapped commercial plywood are loaded off of the box truck using a pallet jack and the lift gate - so sometimes they fall off and everyone has to jump out of the way into traffic or they are rolled off with no control, the Brethren Volunteer Service worker from Germany had her hand crushed using the lift gate while talking with Manager and others 3 days before she went home. She was also less seriously injured moving furniture. That same Manager broke his hand in a fit of anger by slamming it down on a piece of furniture, he ran over my toe with a cart and broke it by working too fast and I believe no accident reports were filed in either case. The bathrooms are not ADA and this poor man who was volunteering in a wheel chair could not get in and, never came back. The former Donation Manager (turnover is high-4 Managers in 5 years) had the muscles in his arm ripped from his bones while saving a younger worker from a 318 pound roll of linoleum. They get donations every day, and they don't need dangerous donations or ones we have to carry out of a basement up around the side of a house or up or down multiple sets of stairs....think sofas, sofa beds, pianos, TV armoires, huge hutches and chests of drawers. The construction sites have had their own problems with safety and the use of toxic fire coating paint, asbestos, lead, mold, trenches with no braces, electric lines, scaffolding concerns and more. If we are told that there is not enough money to keep the Assistant Manager, (who tried to make sure we had water, TP, Cash Register paper, did the schedules, Cash rec, and tried to keep theft to a minimum)....while the Ex Director, who earns over $87,500.00, does not take a cut in pay, and who can never be found, allows the Dev Person to hire his wife, changes two PT positions to FT for two absolutely clueless individuals who cause more problems that the rest have to deal with, and allows the solicitation of employees by a fellow employee who is a Sovereign Citizen... (yes, that FBI watched group)......well, there's just too much to list... ....just Go Volunteer for the United Way or the Red Cross.....but stay away from here and stay safe.....it is not worth getting hurt.....

3 years ago

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Regina Alpharetta, GA

I am a homeowner for 17-years now. This organization repeatedly purposely Lied and royally Ripped us off ..... "Extensively"!!! When we moved in and had SO many problems with the new build Plumbing, Electricity and other major essential things we could never get any response or responsibility from habitat! Right from the very beginning our central air never worked we could never get them to fix it we put into it an additional $2500. we had to borrow trying to fix it and it never would work! Now we have been 17 years in this home with NO central air using window units and so many other things that are completely jacked up that we've had to live with and no responsibility by habitat to fix their blatant mistakes. Habitat charged us for a 1200 ft² house with NO Garage, NO attick (only crawl space above), No Basement, No real place to park and no storage out bldgs. an $85000 mortgage (made 17-yrs ago, now ) plus a silent mortgage of another $40000 ! This house was supposed to be to help when we had only one income coming in and 3-kids and yes the monthly payment amount was reasonable but the total amount is at Least Double what the place is worth. With all the issues involved including septic that flooded us also it is not at all what they propagate themselves to be so they can keep racking in the money from people who don't know better. This is truly a Dr. Suess house and the organization has not been Christian since they strong armed OUT the original founder many years ago. The hardest part of it is you have no recourse to have your voice heard over the ginormous so called charitable organization....

3 years ago

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Austin Dallas, TX

Habitat for Humanity has now stood us up twice when we tried to provide goods for what I thought was a worthy cause. I could not be more displeased with their lack of professionalism. We had a scheduled pickup on Thursday, July 12 between 2 and 4pm. They showed up unannounced while we were not home on Thursday, July 5th. After following up with them, they assured us that they would be at our house to pick up our supplies on Thursday, July 12 between 2 and 4pm as originally planned. They showed up at 12pm that day unannounced while we were not there. After speaking with Reed G on July 16, he assured me they would resolve the matter internally and that they would arrive first thing this morning and no later than 10am today, July 18. They never showed, no explanation, and Reed G nor any of his colleagues are responding to my calls. This is a major disappointment and I recommend giving to other charities instead that are actually grateful for charitable donations.

4 years ago

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Michaela Hurley Scarsdale, NY

Very upset with this charity. Got in contact asking if they needed a kitchen with counter top , they replied asking for me to send photos and contact info and said they would be delighted to take it and when would they collect i said it would be available within a week! that was almost three months ago!!! i have been in contact numerous times since and getting the run around.. donate to a reliable charity my mother in law no longer has her own room anymore she is almost ninety ! Thank God for the Salvation Army they will be collecting the stuff shortly , Shame charities can be so misleading never again will i deal with this group...

5 years ago

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Linda Rhodes Eatonton, GA

I think that it's a scam because I'm disabled and I have two kids in school and was turned down because of my credit that's not looking out for the low income people

4 months ago

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Julia UP Naples, FL

Bad experience with donations. We waisted money and time to have a deal with donations to them. They just coming to your home and looking for brand new expensive items ( we provided all photos used furniture and they guarantee they will take it) l came from different state 3 hours flight etc next day they came and take NOTHING . Terrible experience

1 year ago Edited September 14, 2021

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Maggie Seattle, WA

I wanted to donate some extremely good oak cabinets, a stainless steel side by side refer, a stainless steel glass top stove to habitat for humanities. They put my pick-up date THREE WEEKS out. I explained to them that these items were outside and I had no way to protect them if it rained. Their response was to cancel my pick-up. Good, grateful people!!!

3 years ago

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Meredith Mohr

Horrible organization. A staff member at a ReStore was nasty and abusive to me just because I asked a question. When I contacted the organization repeatedly, the didn't even respond. Their stores are dirty, cluttered, and disorganized. A lot of items aren't even priced, as if customers are expected to magically know the prices. The employees just stand around doing nothing, if you can even find them.

3 years ago

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Christy Tabor Irvington, KY

I applied on behalf of my elderly parents who will be without a home soon, but I was told that they made TOO LITTLE income to qualify. Wow, that was exactly why I applied for them in the first place!!! So sad that this organization doesn't help the elderly who are below income.

1 year ago

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I texted them pictures of the kitchen table with 4 chairs, used BUT all oak. Very easy to re-varnish and turn into something practical and useful. THEY REFUSED IT! Was not worth enough for them to come and pick it up! Right next to Davisville station! ORGANIZATIONS such as this one SHOULD NOT get any more subsidies from government!

4 years ago