Special Blog Post By: Denise Chase

Denise Chase recently hosted a successful fundraiser at her home in Belmont and is sharing her tips on how you can organize one too. She is currently employed by TE Connectivity in Menlo Park and has 2 sons in college (one just returned in July from 5 years in the U.S. Marine Corps). She enjoys volunteering for community events and ropes in as many of her friends as she can.

Cynthia, Lynn, Bob Dulsky, Denise, Tatiana, Joan

This was our first fundraiser and we raised over $2,600! It was such a positive and rewarding experience for our group that we’ve decided to make it a yearly event.

These are our 5 easy steps for organizing a fundraiser:

  1. Meet up and plan. When it comes to the event time, during “Happy Hour” is always good.
  2. Make it simple. Hosting a dinner with music and dancing is great.
  3. Once you have a plan, designate the work. People are happy to help.
  4. Use email and fliers to promote the event (email makes it easy to send reminders).
  5. Make it fun and each year it should grow. (We will know for sure if this is true after our 2nd event next year!)

Really, the key to our success was $0 in overhead expenses – 100% of the proceeds were donated to Second Harvest.

It took 5 volunteers – Cynthia, Lynn, Tatiana, Joan, and me – to organize every aspect of the event. We decided to have the event at a private residence and invite friends, family and neighbors and went with the theme, “The Italian Extravaganza,” for cost effectiveness and simplicity.

A minimum donation of $25.00 per person was suggested and we encouraged people to donate regardless of attendance.

There was a live band from 2:30 to 7:00 p.m. (we checked that our neighbors would not be disturbed by music late in the evening).

How did we secure the band? We used our networking skills. I knew Jill Williams, the founder and lead singer of Tehya; I’ve played darts and bocce with her for 2 years. When I asked if she could help out by having her band play at our event, she jumped at the chance.

Another way that we used our networking skills was to get some of the desserts. Cynthia had received donations from Nothing Bundt Cakes in the past for school events, so she contacted them about this fundraiser and they pitched in.

Be sure to check if your employer has a matching gift program – we received a matching gift of $400 from TE Connectivity. Next year, I am inviting more people from work!

The band, Tehya, donated their playing time.

Nothing Bundt Cakes in San Carlos donated some of the desserts.

Thank you, Second Harvest, for the service you provide to our community.


Cynthia, Lynn, Tatiana, Joan, and Denise

***By leveraging every available resource at our fingertips and forging strong collaborations, we can turn one dollar into two meals.  Sign up to host a food and fund drive!