Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN) was recognized with the Habitat for Humanity Canada Epic Engagement Award for their 2020 #BidtoBuild Online Auction fundraiser.

As part of Habitat Canada’s National Conference and AGM, which was held from May 13th to 14th,
local Habitats from across the country are presented with awards for work they did in the previous year.
The Epic Engagement Award is presented to a Habitat affiliate that “ignites action among all
stakeholders while significantly raising Habitat for Humanity’s brand in Canada.” Over 50 local Habitats
across Canada are eligible to apply for the awards.

Habitat VIN had never held an online auction before 2020, but had to adapt their fundraising methods
due to the pandemic. It went better than they could have anticipated, and they will be holding a second
#BidtoBuild this June.

“We lost significant revenue when our ReStores closed for over two months. Many of our usual
fundraising initiatives were untenable. We needed a new way to engage the community and raise money
to build homes and serve families, and it had to be Covid-safe, doable under a short timeline, and
something that would resonate with our supporters and community,” explained Pat McKenna, Habitat
VIN’s executive director. “Luckily, Cloutier Matthews Chartered Professional Accountants and Temprite
Climate Solutions stepped up as presenting sponsors. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,
and we’re grateful they’re joining us again for a second year.”

The Habitat VIN team also credits their media sponsors 97.3 The Eagle, the Comox Valley Record, and
the Campbell River Mirror for helping them get the word out.

Last year, they had five supporting partners: The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, Campbell River
Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Courtenay BIA, Comox BIA, and Downtown Campbell River BIA.
This year, the Cumberland Business Association has joined as their sixth partner.

“The supporting partners provided invaluable guidance last year in the planning stage, and they’ve gone
above and beyond in sharing information about the auction with their members and networks,” said
McKenna.

One of the best parts of the auction, according to the Habitat team, is seeing members of the community
support each other. For example, industries that are doing okay, such as realtors and construction, are
purchasing gift cards from local restaurants to donate to the auction.

“There’s really something for everyone in this auction. Gift cards to local restaurants and businesses,
experiences like whale watching or a trip to Tofino, and handy household items like a fire protection kit
donated by Comox Fire Rescue or a pergola for the yard,” said McKenna. “I truly think we live in one of
the most generous communities in the world. We had businesses reaching out after last year’s auction
ended to ask if they could donate to the next one. They want to ensure that families in their community
have a safe and decent place to sleep at night.”

#BidtoBuild 2021 will run from June 17th to 27th. Funds raised will go towards Habitat VIN’s
upcoming projects on 1375 Piercy Avenue in Courtenay and 461 Hilchey Road in Campbell River,
which have the potential to provide safe and affordable homes for up to 32 local families. Interested
bidders are encouraged to pre-register on the auction website at charityauction.bid/bidtobuild. Everyone
who pre-registers for the auction will be entered into a draw for gift cards to local restaurants donated by
“registration sponsor” Brian McLean Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd.

Habitat VIN is still accepting donations for this year’s auction. Businesses or individuals interested in
donating can contact the auction team at bidtobuild@habitatnorthisland.com or fill out a donation form
at tinyurl.com/donatebid2build.

Cady Corman

Marketing and Communications Manager, Humanity Vancouver Island North