Since setting up a really good bake sale requires excellent planning and organization, it’s a good idea to be sure it is worth the effort. What will you be selling at this sale? In short, will it be worth your time and effort to do and will it be worth your potential customer’s time and money?
If your bake sale is a one-time event you may not consider this important in establishing a reputation. However, many programs build each year on last year’s successful event adding and changing only a few things to keep it interesting to returning customers. Customers look forward to coming to the event and look for specific items. In the past I have even experienced receiving phone calls from last year’s customers who would like to reserve their favorite item. Great! You’ve made a sale and the bake sale isn’t even open yet. This is the kind of response you want to strive for in deciding what you will offer at the sale.
Here is a list of many favorites and time-tested goodies that should be considered for your sale.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
White or whole wheat bread
Tea breads (whole and individually sliced for those coffee breaks)
Donuts and Sweet Rolls
Cakes & Pies
Whole Cakes (perhaps cut in half to sell)
Whole Pies (perhaps cut in half to sell)
Chocolate dipped fruit
Really Easy To Make
Chocolate dipped Twinkies (place it on a popcycle stick for easy eating)
Chocolate dipped Ding Dongs (place it on a popcycle stick for easy eating)
Jams, Jellies and Preserves
Pickled Eggs or other specialty Preserves
Gingerbread Houses and Cookies
Specialty iced Holiday Cookies
Which items you eventually decide to present at your bake sale will depend on your bakers. There will always be someone who has a specialty item, so that’s a natural for your sale. There will always be someone who has almost not time. No problem, direct them to the “Really Easy To Make” category.
It’s helpful to have your bakers list the ingredients used in their items. People with food allergies need to know what is in a product. Some of these allergies will include dairy products, eggs, wheat flour, and nuts. Listing them will help your buyers.
It’s also a very good idea to have a public posting, a sign-up sheet, for the bakers. This serves two basic purposes. First, signing up is a form of commitment from your baker. There’s nothing like trying to have a bake sale only to find people failing to bring in the goods. Second, it avoids having only chocolate chip cookies or brownies show up at the event. When bakers can see that several people are expecting to make cookies they can, on their own, decide to make an other item for the sale.
There is one short cut that I believe all bake sales should avoid. That short cut is selling pre-packed items or items that clearly were not home made. Even though those items may have a brand name or look glamorous on the sale table, They don’t fit the home made feeling people expect at a bake sale. Since you could buy these items at the local bakery or grocery store there is no need to come especially to your sale. Avoid this at all costs. Should someone at the last minute arrive with such a donation it’s a great idea to thank them and tell them it will be a special treat for the sale workers.
With some advanced planning a well organized bake sale can create a profitable event. The fond memories attached to the delicious and varied offerings really makes people want to return year after year after year.