1. HAVE A PLAN. Not a sort of plan, like a solid, written, calculated, considered, drawn out plan.
– I planned my Sweets for Strengths sale for about a month.
– I had a notebook dedicated to the sale. In it was:
Timing and Schedules for Prep
Itemized lists of how much butter, sugars, eggs, etc. I was going to need.
– I also price shopped for ingredients for a few weeks prior in order to understand how much money it would require to make the sale happen.
– The final step in any bake sale plan is DECIDE ON PRICES before you bake. Make sure your recipe will make enough to cover costs and make profit even if you don’t sell out of everything. And… avoid charging in .50 cent increments if you can.
2. HAVE A CAUSE that you are very passionate about, and one that makes sense to the people in your community.
I chose No Kid Hungry because I like to give money to organizations that support our country and the issues that we struggle with in communities close to our homes. The other great thing about NKH and strength.org is that they were partnered with the Great American Bake Sale … This is a huge tool to help in the process. If you can choose an organization that assists you in fundraisers, that is always a positive.
3. SET A GOAL that is within reason, and one you are fully prepared to achieve or exceed.
I set a goal of raising $250 dollars. I spent around $450 in supplies, time, electric and was willing to donate $200 of my own money if necessary. Understanding the amount of money you are willing to donate at the end of the day is important. This will help you budget properly and set the right goal. Depending on the outcome you may be able to repay your investment or you may just break even, but you always have to donate the amount you set for your goal.
4. HAVE A PRODUCT(S) that you are ready to count on. It must be a crowd pleaser. Be ready to test if necessary… and advertise by promising them.
A lot of my recipes were proven adored recipes, and others I was making for the first time for someone other than myself. Make time in your schedule to test and retest. There is no way to bake everything the night before, so make sure your menu includes a variety of items that can be made a day ahead, can be made and frozen, and those that have to be freshly baked. It will leave you even better prepared.
And it’s a great idea to be seasonal too! Since my sale was in the Fall, I planned to include halloween cupcakes and pumpkin breads and muffins … They were some of the first sellers.
Also, make more than the items that are usually expected. People always open their wallets for a good cause, but don’t forget how helpful a wow factor is when it comes to a homemade goodie. Like my homemade goldfish and cheez-it crackers..
or a 1/2 pound bag of monster cookies!
And a family recipe is always exciting… Like Nonna’s Crumb Cake!
5. HAVE TIME to execute without distractions or rush.
I certainly helped that I make my own work schedule because really doing this right requires patience and time. Either free up your schedule, get the help you need, or delegate your recipes appropriately so that you don’t end up stressed! This is too fun and rewarding for that.
6. BE CREATIVE with your marketing, displays, and presentation.
The more creative and homespun you make it, the better.
Decorate your items with bright colors and tasteful designs.
Hand draw your signs.
Do like I did and make a banner from scratch.
I cut cardstock into little flags, bought fun decorative duct tape, and drew the letter out with hot pink lipstick.
Package your items as beautifully as you can. bright ribbons, cool boxes, use tissue paper, fun bags.
Blow up bright balloons.
Set up the table so that items stand out and can be grabbed easily.
Print out labels and business cards if necessary.
Make enticing displays with information about your cause.
7. PULL HEARTSTRINGS of the young, old, the mamas, the daddys, the babies alike.
Whether you do this through using honest facts about the cause, or just making items that really display a sense of comfort and cozy at home, even though its a charity, you still want to sell to your customers.
Warm homemade cinnamon buns do the trick, every time.
8. BELIEVE in your purpose and your plan.
If you don’t believe in your goal to raise money for this charity, it will be pretty stinkin hard to do it. People are always curious about where their money is going to end up. The baking is the easy part … convincing your audience is the real work.
9. GO BIG or don’t bother doing it.
This is an optional step. You don’t have to make a zillion dozen treats like I did … but don’t just make a dozen. Be proud of your hard work and produce enough so that people can buy multiples easily! Come the day of the sale there is nothing more rewarding than looking at all of your beautiful goodies right in front of you.
10. LOCATION, location, location.
I was lucky that my Dad owns a business where I could set up shop, but if you can, set up your sale at a local business where you know there will be traffic. You want to be as deep in your community as you can be… And have a lot of visuals to catch people’s eye. Put posters around the town during the week before, post the address in your facebook invite, and send emails to any local residents you know to help spread the word!
Oh, and having the help and support of your loved ones and close friends on the day of the sale is a perk one must not lose sight of.
It is amazing to see the generosity and love in this world! If that isn’t enough to motivate you, writing that final check will be.
… For any further questions about bake saleing feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email.
gradtogourmet AT gmail DOT com
And, check out the Novemeber issue of Food & Wine Magazine to see the neat write up about the power of bake sales.
It’s called “How Baking Can Change the World” (ahh goosebumps).