This time of year puts us in the mind-set of giving almost by default. Presents, bell-ringers, church and charitable donations all have us reaching for our wallets in the spirit of enriching the lives of others. Bake sales are no different, and what an awesome time of year to have a bake sale indeed, everyone has thrown their diet out the window and is in the spirit of giving!
I have baked for, and organized, many a bake sale in the past few years, all of them very successful at raising money. In the spirit of giving, I have decided to come up with my own personal list of tips and tricks in this post “13 Tips For Ultimate Bake Sale Success”. So read below folks, and find your recipe for success:
- Take the “by donation” route. Always, always have your bake sale advertised as “by donation”. You save yourself the hassle of pricing everything, people tend to get more baked goods, and YOU MAKE MORE MONEY! Every bake sale I have ever organized has been “by donation” and it works great every time.
- Set up in areas that are high in foot traffic and FREE. Grocery stores are usually the way to go. People already have food in mind and they can always get cash back in the check-out line if they aren’t carrying cash on them. Most bake sales that I have done have been at Family Fare, in the front entry way right by where people get their carts. It worked out perfectly because everyone had to walk by us to grab a cart, forcing them to look at our table of goodies. We always booked a month in advance and it was always free to set-up there.
- Have your bake sale at a time that is high in traffic. There is a real sweet spot for bake sales on Saturdays between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Theme it up. I mean it! Make it fun and bright. I once did a bake sale for the Animal Shelter and we had everyone make animal themed treats. We also used our old shirts to make dog toys for people to grab, and on the table we had flyers about pet adoption. Fun table cloths, signs, and handouts really add interest to your bake sale. Instead of just raising money, it’s a good chance to raise local awareness.
- Schedule your bake sale on weekends that people will be out. Are there a few weekends in your town when everyone is out and about? Special weekends when vacationers like to roll in and hang out for a few days? That’s your weekend to schedule a bake sale. If you’re going to do all the work of arranging a time, getting bakers, putting up flyers, and making treats why not make sure you’ll get maximum foot traffic too?
- Great signage. You need a big beautiful sign. It needs to state in extra large letters “By Donation Bake Sale”, and in semi-large letters the organization you work for and also who/what your bake sale is benefiting. Those three things are very VERY important. Neon poster-board? Great. Huge banner? Great. Just make sure your great sign says those three things on it.
- HAVE SUGAR FREE OPTIONS/ VEGAN OPTIONS/GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS. I write this in all caps because I have had this happen to me at every bake sale I’ve done. No one thought to make anything vegan, sugar-free or gluten-free and we lost business. We also got a few comments about how it would be nice if people included these options in their bake sales more often. Learn from my mistakes people, that’s what I’m here for.
- Mini pies and breads. They work like a charm. People buy things at bake sales that they don’t feel like making because they’re busy. Pies and breads fall into this category. I like making mini-pies because you can usually get about two pies out of one can of filling,
- Clear cellophane. People also buy things at bake sales that are decadent and decorated really pretty. Brownies? No thanks. Triple chocolate red velvet brownies with crushed Oreo sprinkles? Take my dollar lady! This is why clear cellophane is always the way to go, you made something beautiful and decadent, show it off. People won’t buy something they can’t see.
- Advertise everywhere that is FREE. Put just a little extra time into advertising and social media, you won’t be disappointed. Advertise beforehand with posters at local shops and on Facebook sale sites. Also, advertise DURING the bake sale. Take pictures of the best looking baked goods as you put them out, post them on social media, make people realize they’re missing out.
- Smile, make eye contact and say hello… they’ll get the hint. If your signage is clear, they’ll read it and buy something, or at least donate some pocket change. Don’t be annoying and bombard people as they come in. Just make eye contact and say “Hello!” or even “Have a nice day!” as they leave. Also, please refrain from sitting on your cell-phone the entire time, business will sneak on by and it’s rude.
- Appearance is everything so dress nice. People are buying food that you cooked in your home, so don’t look like a dirt bag. You’re not only representing your own organization, your representing the organization your donating money to. I’m not saying you need to dress extremely fancy, but a little “business casual” never hurt anyone.
I think these “13 Tips for Ultimate Bake Sale Success” will assure all your future bake sales a great turn out. I’ve developed them over the years and much bake sale success of my own. Now get out there and make a difference in some one’s life with cake-pops and mini-pies!
Baking is caring,
Any tips and tricks of your own you would like to include? Please comment below. Happy Holidays!