A Student's Comments on Habitat for Humanity Websites

A Student's Comments on Habitat for Humanity Websites

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A Student's Comments on Habitat for Humanity Websites


While sitting in my dorm room watching a DVD, I looked around and suddenly realized how lucky I was. I lived in a decent sized room with lighting and air conditioning that I could adjust to make myself comfortable. Then I thought how even more lucky I was to be able to go home too yet a nicer living facility at my own house that I have to share with nobody but my immediate family. It made me begin to wonder how many people there are that do not possess this luxury. That is when I thought of Habitat for Humanity. The only thing that I knew about it was that they built homes for underprivileged families with inadequate shelter. I wanted to see though exactly how this specific organization made a difference in peoples lives. Hopefully my research will enlighten my readers of the living situations of many families around the world, maybe even convincing some to volunteer themselves.

Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational and nonprofit Christian organization(Habitat for Humanity International). It is involved in the manufacturing and building of houses for those in need of an adequate shelter. Habitat for Humanity was established in 1976 and since, has built more than 150,000 attainable, sturdy houses
in over 89 different countries(Habitat for Humanity International). This is a very impressive statistic considering all the political and economic issues that are going on in today’s world. No matter where the home is being built across the globe there are three factors that give those in need access to an affordable home like these(Habitat for Humanity International). The website states that the first attribute of a successful and complete home is that homeowners are able to buy their new house at no profit with no interest charged on the mortgage. Secondly, it states that there are trained professionals there to supervise the volunteers and homeowners in building each home. Finally, financial support is provided to the organization by individuals, corporations, faith groups, and others. These three elements contribute equally to the success of Habitat for Humanity (Habitat for Humanity International).

Habitat for Humanity has branches that are building right now in towns, cities, and countries all across the earth.

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It is the local branches that decide what families are chosen to be what is called, “partner families”(Habitat for Humanity International). These partner families are the selectees that the organization will be building new homes
for. They are picked by a number of things including their ability to pay the mortgage, their need for a house, and their willingness to work in accordance with the foundation(Habitat for Humanity International).

Although there are a number of websites available to the public, I chose three that gave the best information. The first one is the main home page for Habitat for Humanity International, http://www.habitat.org/. Basically, it gives a history of the organization, an overview of what it does, where the organization works, and how it is done. This is probably the best website for a person that is just looking for general information on Habitat for Humanity. The second website that I chose is titled, “Habitat for Humanity for Shenectady County, Inc. This website is strictly volunteer
information about the organization. It is good for those who already know about Habitat for Humanity and want to take a part in it. There are a number of websites designated for particular cities. I thought it would be interesting to look at one of these and see the differences between it and the others, so I just chose a city. S. Philadelphia Chapter Although all of these websites have different agendas and information on them, their goal is all the same. They are trying to recruit volunteers to achieve their main goal of helping those who are less fortunate.

The first website I chose is the main one for Habitat for Humanity. This is probably the best website as far as finding out history of the organization and exactly what people need to do to volunteer and to apply for a house. It is set up so that a person can click on a link and it will take them exactly to what they are trying to find out. A lot of the websites I have been to before just have a bunch of information jumbled together. It is hard to find exactly what I am looking for because I have to read through so much stuff to find it, and that just causes me to become frustrated. This website is set up with a list of links on the right side that you can click on to access. For example, if a person wanted to donate money without having to read through all the information on the homepage, all they would have to do is click on the link that says, “Donate Money.” This method makes it fast and efficient, and probably brings in more money since a confusing website would just discourage people from trying to find out how to make their donation. Another excellent point to make about this website is the fact that there are pictures all over it. The images are of the people that need homes, causing people to feel sympathetic so that they will volunteer and make donations. There are also photographs of people in the process of working and then finished homes as well. This only motivates people even more to want to help. When I look through a website, I find it boring to see black words over and over, but when there is flashy color or even more importantly pictures, it makes me want to stop and read to see what exactly it is about.

My second website is designed to make people aware of the organization and recruit them to help. It is not focused on describing all about Habitat for Humanity like the main web page is, but on the volunteering aspect. The first thing the viewer will see when going to the website is a list of all the different things that a volunteer can do for the organization. Underneath that it tells them that all they have to do to volunteer is to click on how they would like to participate, and email some information to the volunteer coordinator, allof which is listed right in plain view. This setup makes it extremely easy for someone to navigate through the website. If for example an organization just wanted to volunteer by becoming a sponsor, all they would have to do once they go to the website would be to click on the link that reads, “Our Sponsors” and this would tell them exactly how to proceed. The only criticism against this website is the fact that there are no pictures on the home page. Having a big picture of a bunch of happy volunteers standing around a finished house would motivate a person a lot more to join than just the blue words that are on the website right now.

The final website is one that is only helpful to people in Philadelphia. It is basically just the same as the first website except for the fact that it is about Philadelphia’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity not about the whole organization. This is very important to cities where the organization is needed. A person who wanted to volunteer for the organization or needed a home would be more inclined to contact Habitat for Humanity if they could read about it and see pictures of it going on in their hometown. This website is helpful and organized, again because of the fact that there is a convenient list of links to the side that makes it very easy for the reader to access where they want to go. Also, this site, unlike the others has the organizations address, phone, fax, and email at the very top of the homepage. This is convenient because of the fact that most people looking at this site live in Philadelphia so they can actually go and get in touch with the organization from this information. This would be much more appealing to me if I could actually go and see the organization in real life working.
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