IHSD Cheers to 35 Years

When I was hired at the end of July/early August 2018, my immediate priority was to help coordinate and plan for IHSD’s 35th anniversary and inaugural fundraising event. WIth a date set on Sunday, October 21, I had just under three months to plan.


  • For the look and feel, I used Canva to help design the 35th-anniversary campaign. From there, I created invites (print and digital), day-of printed programs, and website and social media banners.
  • To manage our manage our ticket registrations, I used TicketTailor. PayPal helped manage our funds, but it alone wasn’t sufficient from tracking ticket orders.
  • To send out our digital invites, I used MailChimp to schedule, email, and track. It was great to see the reports with open rates and track which of our guests hadn’t seen our invite, so we can follow up later.
  • I also pitched a press release to a number of local journalists to help celebrate our mission but only managed to get published on Patch.com (Article: Veteran Pre-K Program Dreams of Solving Child Care Crisis).


  • This was especially different than my other event planning experience, because we were planning around a fundraising event–a live auction to be exact.
  • After a few weeks of venue scouting around the county, I secured a venue location for Sunday, October 21st at San Mateo Garden Center, which also happened to be really close to our main office.
  • While we started to promote ticket sales, I found our amazing caterer, Pipo’s Grill, through Thumbtack, a resource site to find local professionals, and who was able to work with our budget limitations while providing a great brunch menu.
  • We invested in a professional auctioneer who specialized in charity events and helped us maximize our fundraising efforts.
  • Our team worked towards a day-of program that included having our organization’s founder as a speaker, an awards presentation, and a parent testimony before we commenced our live auction.
  • I led the production of the event making sure our event continued to flow on time and took photos at the same time.
  • We had 72 total guests that joined us for our event.

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  • Our fundraising strategy was a combination of ticket sales, sponsorships, silent auction, live auction, and fund-a-need. The challenge here was to stay as organized as possible while managing inventory and the auction.
  • From event sponsorships, we raised over $15,000 from corporate and individual donors. To accept online donations, we used MightyCause to help campaign for our 35th-anniversary celebration.
  • Silent and live auction donations were sourced largely from our board of directors, which included fine goods, experiences, and artwork and raised over $5,000.
  • Fund-a-need is commonly known in charity auction events where bidders offer a 100% tax-deductible donation as a “bid” during the live auction. This alone helped raise over $16,000!
  • Our goal was to raise $35,000 to honor our 35th anniversary, and we surpassed the goal by 132% and raised over $46,000!