I’ve just completed my eighth bake sale for charity. It’s an annual event that benefits a local animal shelter. This year’s sale made $500! And no matter how much money the bake sale brings in, it’s always worth it, because aside from the time spent planning and baking, very little is spent on ingredients.
Many of us have cherished causes deserving of cash. If you are asked to chair a charity bake sale this spring, or want to donate but don’t have spare funds, a charity bake costs very little money to make money.
Here are ten tips to make money with a charity bake sale:
- The important things to remember in a charity bake sale are the three “P’s”: Product, Price and Packaging. The products you sell must be compatible with weather conditions and storage capabilities. The prices must be low enough to attract buyers to your event, but high enough to make decent money. The packaging must be secure enough for baked goods to withstand transport and handling.
- Ask for contributions from others; it’s the easy way to avoid doing it all yourself and save money. But be prepared for letdowns. I had four people “promise” to help out at my charity bake sale, but only one person actually came through.
- A bake sale doesn’t have to be all about sweets. You can offer more savory, less sweet items, such as these apple muffins. Also consider baked items like garlic knots, personal pizzas, knishes, bread sticks, rolls, and croissants. Don’t let “bake sale” limit you to desserts.
- A charity bake sale can be kind to the buyers’ health with recipes like these DIY granola bars. Both of these recipes take advantage of common pantry items, which will save money because you may not need to go grocery shopping to make them.
- Attention grocery stockpilers: this is the chance to use what you stash. Plan recipes around what’s in your pantry. Remember that many basic grocery items, such as butter and milk can be bought in quantity and frozen.
- A charity bake sale can include treats for our four-legged friends. I’ve made doggie biscuits for my bake sale, and they are always a sell out. I always label theses bags with the list of ingredients, so pet owners know what I use.
- It’s not just about the food. As you plan, get a large plastic bin ready to go to the sale with a list of non-food needs, or use an Excel spreadsheet on your computer or tablet to keep track of items. You’ll need sandwich-size plastic bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, plastic utensils and cake/pie cutters (if you are offering cakes and pies), small paper plates and bowls, some money to make change, tape, markers and poster board. Put all these items in the bin, so you have them ready to go on bake sale day.
- Use coupons and loyalty reward points, and don’t limit your shopping to the grocery store. Drugstores such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid carry food products, too. Shop for baking necessities around holiday periods (Easter and Christmas) when the sales are at their best.
- Ask the charity for help. It’s their bake sale, and the more money you save, the more items you can bake and donate, and the more they benefit. Get promotional materials from them (I get a nice tablecloth, money donation box and lots of pamphlets and posters from the animal shelter) instead of spending your money to make them.
- Spread the word via social media. Let people know about your charity bake sale using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other site you use. And don’t overlook the old-fashioned methods of announcing your sale: bulletin board postings in the local supermarket and churches or one small ad in the town freebie paper. You’d be surprised, even in the Internet age, how many people still stop and read something that’s hard copy-printed.