Lutheran High School Auction

Dollars Raised in 2018

Dollars Raised in 2019

On October 25th 2019, Lutheran High School of St. Charles hosted its annual fundraising gala. The purpose of the gala; to raise funds for the school and perpetuate the mission “to nurture students spiritually, academically and personally.” This year the theme of the LHS fundraiser was “GAME CHANGER” as they were looking to reinvigorate their donor base and change what had become a predictable program heavy auction.

Our involvement started well before event day as we immersed ourselves in committee meetings to help stimulate new ideas. One of Lutheran’s main goals was to reenergize their Alumni base. We’ve found that emails containing video are 300% more likely to be opened. As such, we turned to the Utopia Videography team to create an invitation video; a creative way to invite new and old faces to the Auction. The goal for the Auction was to fundraise a total of $60,000, a 60% increase from 2018. Again, we turned to our Utopia Videography team to tell the story of Lutheran High in an emotionally compelling, heart tugging Fund In Need video. As the video played, we watched reactions in the room and saw tears of inspiration and smiles that showed the promise of a better future for the kids. We couldn’t help but get emotional. Watching it with 325 people was like seeing it for the first time. While the video played, you could hear a pin drop. It went from loud and festive, to attention grabbing silence as the crowd was transfixed by the powerful message we delivered. That resulted in a $70,000 Fund The Future, which was more than their goal for the entire evening.

Outside of video, the Utopia team was contracted to handle Entertainment and Audio / Visual (A/V). This included a red carpet/live feed paparazzi as guests entered the event, which was paid for by a $2500 sponsorship. Guests were able to share their pictures via an iPad, which also tagged the sponsor on social media. As they entered the ballroom, guests were greeted with a smile and handshake by our staff and Toney Thornhill’s team from ‘A Higher Calling Fundraising Solutions.’ The ballroom at Old Hickory Golf Club was beautifully lit in Blue LED wireless uplighting that made the space feel warm and inviting. Six speakers, two subs, high quality microphones, 10 foot projectors and 70 inch TV’s ensured that no matter where guests were, they could see and hear the program!

After the program, our very own DJ Roe and Emcee Dee helped to create an after party experience that kept people engaged and dancing through the wee hours of the night. What was originally a women packed dance floor with men circling the perimeter turned into an all out celebration where guests let their hair down in unbridled celebration. We called it a night at 11:30. Weeks later, we are still relishing in emotion!!!

Our favorite part of the evening was when Russ and Doug (heads of the school) came up to our team separately nearly in tears and hugged us. It was wonderful to hear from them, independent of one another, that the investment in Utopia was all worth it and then some. They offered to be added to a list of life-long reference / positive testimonial partners and they both mildly threatened if Utopia was booked for their 2020 date, we would be hunted down.

Here’s to many more years of a successful partnership!

Below is Dr. Doug Kuhlmann and Russ Schindhette’s experience working with Utopia:


“Over the past several years Lutheran High School has invested approx $700 on your run of the mill auctioneer that yielded less than stellar results.  This year we went completely out of our financial comfort zone to create some much needed change, energy and more importantly increased fund raising for our school.  It paid off big, we went from a net of 50K last year to almost 150K this year.
Joey and Utopia Entertainment combined forces with our auctioneer, Toney Thornhill (A higher Calling Fundraising Solutions) to create an event that literally blew us and everyone else away with energy, fun and results!
Our event was at Old Hickory Golf Club in St. Peters.  Attendance increase from 220 to 325 this year.  A theme of “Gamechanger” let people know that this was going to be something they have never seen before.Along the way we got to know Joey better and what they were capable of.  With a crowd that size, the auctioneer needs to be heard; loud and clear.  Joey made that happen.  With his leadership, we went deeper into our pockets to make sure we created the event we needed.
We eventually doubled our commitment to audio/video adding a red carpet, emcee, videographer, 65″ TV’s in addition to Old Hickory’s screen and Blue up lighting throughout the room.  If you are promoting a “Gamechanger” you have to go big or go home!  One chance for a first impression, right?  People walking in the door were greeted by an emcee, photographed with live feed into the main room.  The energy was amazing and sound quality of everything was perfect.
I knew what to expect and I was still blown away!
The strongest message and fund raising effort of the night was our Fund a Future.  Just an opportunity for people to hear a message and give from the heart. Our fund a future video was written and laid out by one of our LHS teachers then produced by Utopia.
Joey and the Utopia team took to the sky with a drone, and started building and editing around Eric’s idea.  The result generated 70K of generosity in a matter of minutes.”

-Russ Schindehette, Board President, Lutheran High School

Russ Schindhette

Board President, Lutheran High School

“Last month, we held our school’s annual Fundraising Auction.  We were searching for a way to increase our guests experience.  Utopia Entertainment was perfect for our event!  Joey and his staff worked with us to plan the evening…the timeline, music, emcee, step-and-repeat, lighting, videos, etc. to create the experience we were looking for.  Their professionalism in both the pre-event planning to the event itself was incredible!  The emcee created excitement as people walked through the doors at our venue.  Our planning committee really went back-and-forth in deliberating securing their services and if they were needed…we have now learned that you CANNOT not afford to have a successful fundraising auction without using Utopia Entertainment!  We are excited to welcome Joey and his team back in 2020! “



Dr. Doug Kuhlmann

Head of Lutheran High School