Harnessing the power of good to recover from Hurricane Florence
Mayor Saffo helps Sandy Spiers of SunTrust Bank present checks to local nonprofits involved in hurricane response and recovery during the Wilmington Strong concert at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on Oct. 13.
Two powerful forces impacted the Cape Fear Region this fall.
You know the first one – Hurricane Florence made landfall on Sept. 14 with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and historic flooding. The storm damaged thousands of homes.
The second and equally powerful force has been the response of hundreds of WARM supporters
! Donors from our community and all over the country have given generously to support recovery efforts. Volunteers from local and out-of-town churches, clubs, schools and neighborhoods are filling up the WARM calendar to help rebuild homes.
This swift response from faithful and new supporters enabled WARM to move forward quickly. After our tarp teams wrapped up, WARM immediately began conducting assessments and walking homeowners through the FEMA application process. As of Dec. 31, 15 hurricane damaged homes have been completed and 42 more are underway.
WARM is the only permanent agency in the region whose mission is to repair owner-occupied homes; many low-income families have no other option. As more homeowners are directed toward WARM, our waiting list grows longer. WARM’s waiting list recently reached 200 homes.
We believe our community has the will and the heart to rebuild all 200 homes in less than 2 years. It is up to WARM to provide a framework for keeping the momentum going. So, we’ve created a hurricane recovery club called Maximum Sustained Giving
Monthly giving clubs like this have several benefits:
- Donors can make a bigger impact by spreading out a larger donation over time. In fact, WARM’s Maximum Sustained Giving Club was developed after several of our major donors decided to increase their support after the storm but needed to break up their gifts into several payments to make it happen.
- Monthly commitments help the nonprofit plan better. Delivery of nonprofit services are dependent on the generosity and decision-making of others. Many times, the only way to predict revenue for the future is to look into the past at how successful an event or campaign was in previous years. With monthly giving commitments, nonprofit leaders can better predict the amount of funding we will have to execute the mission. At WARM, we can pre-order material in bulk and schedule volunteers months in advance knowing the rebuild will be funded.
- Predictable and stable revenue brings hope to those waiting. Many times, clients wait for weeks or months, as nonprofit leaders write grants, hold events and ask for donations to assist them. Every day at WARM, we must tell someone on our waiting list that they have to wait longer while we raise the funds to complete their rebuild. Maximum Sustained Giving Club members enable us to call these homeowners with great news and reassure them their community has not forgotten them.
- Automatic giving reduces administrative costs. Administrative expenses are a necessary part of running an effective nonprofit. However, we always look for ways to be more efficient, so that more money can be spent on the mission. When donors set up monthly giving online, they do more than give funds, they help save even more dollars in the form of processing and mailing costs.
With faithful support from local businesses, clubs, churches, and individuals, WARM plans for all our homeowners to be safe at home by Christmas 2020. I hope you will join the club
Combining her professional experience in the Cape Fear region’s housing and real estate for-profit sector and volunteer experience with disaster recovery and housing-related nonprofits, JC Lyle (formerly Skane) was hired in 2009 to serve as the executive director of Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM). WARM is a grassroots nonprofit whose mission is to make homes safer by completing urgent repairs, accessibility upgrades and storm damage. Under her leadership, WARM has steadily grown from serving 44 households in 2008 to 155 households in 2016. Her public recognition includes Wilma Magazine's 2012 Woman to Watch in the Nonprofit Category, a 2014 Coastal Entrepreneur Award in the Nonprofit Category, given by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and UNC Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and invitations to speak at NC Center for Nonprofits Conference and NC Affordable Housing Conference. She will graduate in May with her Master of Business Administration at UNC-Wilmington.