Email: restore@lakesareahabitat.org

22nd Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity Annual Dinner
Frequently Asked Questions

The 22nd Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity Annual dinner in 2018 is a year of change. We are hoping the following will address frequently asked questions received by committee members. Over the summer, a focus group including past sponsors, dinner attendees, board members and community members met to identify ways to improve the evening and increase donations. Many of the changes were generated by this discussion.

1. Why did you change the venue to Madden’s?
The venue was changed to Madden’s because we needed additional space for the guests to enjoy the event. Due to the success of the event over the past few years, the dinner outgrew the room at Breezy Point and going forward long-term growth is limited there.

2. Why did the cost of the dinner increase to $75.00?
The last ticket price increase to the LAHFH Annual Dinner was in 2005. Since then, the cost of building an affordable house in the Brainerd Lakes Area increased from $68,000 in 2005 to $105,000 in 2016. That is a 54% increase in costs. The ticket price was increased to reflect the cost demands for building a home.

3. Why are you moving to an online event registration and mobile silent auction application?
The Gesture application is a full event planning website that enables event management from registration of guests to post event reports. It not only generates the online silent auction, but also assists the committee in coordinating the event. In addition, we’ve received feedback from many attendees and sponsors that online registration for the event was preferred. During the focus group and other meetings, all who attended supported the use of mobile online bidding. Furthermore, by using the mobile bidding application, people who are not able to attend the dinner can participate by bidding on silent auction items and the Build-A- Home auction. While there is an expense associated with the use of the Gesture application we believe this is offset by the decrease in work completed by the LAHFH staff and Annual Dinner Committee to organize the event and (hopefully) an increase in the donations to build homes. Finally, this program can be used for other LAHFH events throughout the year.

4. “I hate that people look at their cell phones and don’t talk during the event when online bidding is used”
We do too! The “maximum bid” feature on the mobile application eliminates the need to check on bidding using your phone. Another great feature allows us to “suspend” bidding, ensuring guests are focused on the event and not their phones.

5. What if I don’t have a phone I can use for bidding or have no tech skills?
Volunteers and Gesture staff will be on hand with tablets to assist with the online bidding program.

6. Why are the tables of 8 people instead of 10?
Madden’s event planners recommended tables of 8 to limit guests who have their back to the podium.

7. You seem to be spending more money this year. Shouldn’t you be using it to build homes?
There is a cost of doing business and to grow the annual dinner with the goal of increasing donations to build more homes in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Many of the advertising costs are covered by the sponsorships. The greatest expense is food, which is paid for by attendees. While some expenses have increased, we have offset the costs by savings in other areas. For instance, fewer invitations are to be mailed, decreasing printing and postal expenses. The committee and LAHFH staff are aware of the expenses and are diligently working to offset them. More importantly, we are all working hard to increase sponsorships and attendance to the dinner with the goal of raising more money to build more homes.

8. Why is the Pillar of Strength sponsorship level no longer listed in the print advertisement?
The simple answer is space. We have over 40 sponsors of the LAHFH annual dinner and while we’d like to include everyone in the print advertisement, it’s becoming more difficult to create a visually pleasing layout. If we increase our sponsorships and require a full-page advertisement, the committee will revisit this decision.

9. Why are there fewer Silent Auction items available?
Feedback provided in the focus group discussion and other conversations was there are too many items and not enough time to look at them all. Furthermore, while people want to donate to LAHFH, they do not necessarily want merchandise to take home. Therefore, we decreased the number of silent auction items available and expanded the Build-A- Home auction.

If you have other questions, please email dinner@lakesareahabitat.org and someone from the committee will respond to you in a timely manner.

Thank you for your continued support of Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity. We look forward to seeing you at the 22nd Annual Dinner on June 13, 2018 at Madden’s Resort!