HBA LEGO Contest Captures Hearts and Minds During COVID-19

Disaster Response

With schools closed, individual Home Builder Associations across the country are hosting LEGO contests for students to inspire future builders.

The Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association (CVHBA) decided to host a LEGO contest after schools had been closed for a while. CVHBA’s timing and strong local relationships turned a “side project” into a large-scale virtual community event.

With CVHBA's in-person events cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, the HBA had some funds in their marketing budget that could be reallocated to a different activity. Executive Officer Christina Thune and CVHBA's workforce development committee decided to hold a contest. CVHBA would invite kids to create a house out of LEGOs, send a photo of the build via email or Facebook direct message, and at the end of the contest, all homes and winning entries would be posted to CVHBA's Facebook page.

Thune announced the contest on CVHBA’s Facebook page. Thune also shared the post with other local Facebook groups that might be interested in the contest. CVHBA hoped to attract a couple dozen entries.

Within hours of boosting the post — for less than $3 — the contest went viral.

Parents shared the post with other parents. Teachers shared the post with school districts. CVHBA members promoted the contest. Their own kids submitted entries. CVHBA didn’t even have a press release ready, and the local NBC News television station reached out to CVHBA for a morning news segment.

Submissions skyrocketed after the news segment aired. Thune was impressed by the quality of the entries: “I was blown away by the level of details put into the entries and the level of effort …the students really took the contest seriously.”

The excitement was infectious. CVHBA members and staff increased their involvement. Board members donated funds to purchase more gift cards as prizes for contest winners. The CVHBA public relations committee joined the workforce development committee to judge the contest entries and offered other logistical support. CVHBA connections led to a local movie theater donating tickets as prizes.

In 11 days, CVHBA received more than 500 entries from kids ages 3 to 17 and awarded more than 100 prizes. The original CVHBA Facebook post that kicked off the contest generated more than 25,000 impressions with several hundred engagements. Although CVHBA Facebook “likes” were not required for contest entries, the page received more than 500 new “likes.”

Thune’s advice for HBAs or NAHB members who are interested in hosting a similar contest is to have a plan in place for collecting and recording entries. She also recommends leveraging existing community relationships for contest promotion and potential in-kind support.

Although the metrics from the contest exceeded Thune’s expectations, the positive response from the community made the biggest impression. “I’ve received emails and messages thanking CVHBA for providing a productive activity that students could work and focus on,” she stated. “It was awesome!”

We would like to continue highlighting these types of community efforts to provide a source of good news during this challenging time. If you are an NAHB member or HBA that has successfully hosted a virtual community event, please share your story by emailing us at communications@nahb.org.

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