Tool & Tips

Perfect 5 Step Plan for a Charity Bake Sale

Bake sales are a great way to kick off fundraising efforts for your group. Here’s how to plan one.

Bake sales are a great way to kick off fundraising efforts for your group. They’re low-cost and easy to set up, fun for participants and popular with customers. Best of all, they require minimal commitment on the part of busy volunteers. Kids, moms, and bakers of all ages and skill levels can participate and the results can be surprisingly profitable. Done right, a bake sale is a fun teambuilding experience that earns contributions while it raises consciousness for your cause.

Just follow this recipe and see if you don’t agree.

    1. Go Where the People Are

90% of the success of your bake sale depends on your first decisions: Where and When you hold it. Pick an evening or weekend when families can gather, at a convenient and roomy location. If you’re just starting out, consider joining your bake sale to an existing charity or holiday event. 4th of July or Labor Day picnics are a great way to get your wares in front of a hungry crowd. Check your local calendar, church and school schedules to see where your organization or cause would be a good fit.

    1. You Can’t Have Too Many Cooks

Ask for volunteers, and get commitments. Remind your bake team regularly and often that your event is coming up, and be prepared for inevitable conflicts and cancellations. In other words, ask for more than you need.

    1. Theme Your Event to Make it Stand Out

Bake Sales are predicated on the allure of home cooking. But you can distinguish your event in a variety of ways that will raise your profile and attract customers.

    • – Make it a Competition. Give prizes and ask customers to vote for their favorites. Turning volunteers into competitors adds excitement and encourages them to brings fans and family.
    • – Specialize: focus on a particular kind of baked good: cakes, pies, home-made bagels, what-have-you. If it sounds yummy, they will come (if you follow step 4).
    • – Check out Pinterest and other websites for ideas.
    1. Whet Their Appetites – Get the word out in advance.

Promote your bake sale with colorful posters and flyers.  Keep the message simple: What, Where, When, Who and Why (make sure your organization and charitable purpose are prominent).  Use social media to increase your visibility by sharing with friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  And make a press release: leverage free publicity from local television, radio and newspapers.

  1. If It Looks Better, It Tastes Better
    An attractive, elegant presentation raises expectations and lets you raise prices, so your charity benefits even more. Be sure to have the following on hand:

    • – Sturdy Tables – folding tables are fine, but make sure they won’t collapse when customers lean against them
    • – Paper table cloths, for easy cleanup
    • – Plates and Stands – you can reinforce your theme or cause in your display with some simple draping on cake stands and under plates
    • – Knives, cake slicers and tongs. – To cut and pop cakes onto plates or into bags
    • – Labels: name it, describe it, price it
    • – Paper plates, plastic forks and napkins, so people can eat on-site
    • – Cake boxes, paper bags or plastic freezer bags, to let people take home
    • – Trash cans and bags
    • – Cash box and change
    • – SIGNAGE: big and readable, with your organization’s name and who benefits. You may wish to have additional educational signage and volunteers who can engage with customers to raise consciousness about your cause.

Most important of all: have FUN, and make it fun for your customers.  Help people feel good about giving!