This past weekend I spent most of my time baking a ridiculous amount of desserts. A couple months ago, I talked about some ideas for fundraising with kids that teaches them about the value of money. One of the ideas included making cookies and selling them at a garage sale. This past month, we expanded on that idea and decided to do a bake sale. It was a pretty successful fundraising venture, thanks to the wonderful co-workers of my husband and mom. Of course, we also had some support from some family and friends too, which really meant a lot to us.
We made my famous chocolate chip cookies, some delicious chocolate cherry drop cookies, chocolate fudge cookies, peanut butter marshmallow bars and nanaimo bars. I chose these recipes because they were pretty easy to make. There was also the added bonus that Jack could help with a lot of the baking.
Here are some things to remember when doing a bake sale.
Pick Recipes That Works For You
It took me a couple weeks to decide on which recipes to make. Things that you have to consider are how easy it is to make the dessert, how much one batch makes, availability and price of ingredients, cooking time and where your product needs to be cooked and, of course, the most important thing – customer response to the baked good.
I used my husband’s friends as guinea pigs for a couple recipes I tried. Based on how much of each of the desserts went, I could tell if the recipes I made were worth it or not. Thanks to pinterest, I was able to find lots of different recipes to try. At first I got caught up in these really cool and unique desserts like s’more bites and caramel apple cheesecake bars. But, when it came down to it, classic desserts that people are familiar with sell better than unique ones.
Ultimately, when deciding on what to sell make desserts that you like making. You are going to have to make a lot of whatever you choose, so it’s important to enjoy the recipe. If it’s really time consuming and doesn’t make a whole lot, you are going to be wishing you never chose that dessert half way in. When I picked my desserts, I also picked two that required an oven and two that did not require any baking. That way, I could make trays that did not require an oven while I had cookies coming in and out of the oven. It definitely saved time.
Coming Up With Prices
It’s always hard to come up with prices when doing a bake sale. How do you put a price on hard work and baked goods? Once I decided on the recipes I was making, I took a look at the ingredient list. Then I figured out how much it cost for the ingredients, and broke down the price into each batch in the recipe. In doing this, I was able to figure out how much it would cost to bake one batch of the dessert. Let’s say cookies. Once I had the price breakdown, I make a batch of cookies and figured out how many cookies came out. You can break down the cost into cookies or price by the dozen. Once I had that number, I could choose how much I wanted to put into a plate to make even prices. I find that 5, 10, or 20 dollars is usually the best way to go as they are even bills and it’s really easy to hand over a bill.
When coming up with prices, I also recommend on coming up with a variety plate that incorporates all the desserts onto one plate. It was my most popular product as everyone got a taste of everything. When deciding on a price for this, be sure to include the price of a tray to give them away in. I used disposable alluminum trays and I found they worked really well, but I did forget about the trays when I decided on my prices.
Selling your Goods
There are lots of ways to go about promoting your bake sale. I made an order form that outlined the reason why we were doing the bake sale and the baked goods along with their prices. Under that, I had a line for their names, address, phone number and any allergies they might have, just in case. On the form, I also made sure to add a cute picture of Jack, my son, baking. Adding a cute factor always helps. I have to say, I found the order form worked really well. Remember to add a deadline for your order forms, otherwise you may have an ongoing bake sale which could take over your whole life. Give the deadline a couple days before a weekend that you are totally free, so you have lots of time to get your baking done. I also spread out the dates of delivery just to make sure I had time to complete all the orders.
There were a couple different ways that I dispersed the order forms. I printed a bunch out and gave them to my husband to take to work, along with a plate of cookies. I find that giving away free samples is a quite successful way of getting business. I also had my mom take the order form to her work, and she had a bunch of business too. Finally, I sent a message out to our friends and explained the bake sale. It was just one message with the order form attachment, and then I left it to our friends to contact me if they were interested. About a week before the deadline for orders, I sent out a status update on my facebook page with a picture of Jack baking, just to remind anyone who was interested about the bake sale.
Ok, you’ve decided on your products, created prices, told your friends and now you have to bake. Be sure to figure out how much of all your ingredients you need. I found that making a spreadsheet worked really well for organizing all the orders that I had. It made it really easy on the day of to see how many of each type of dessert I needed to make. As a bonus, since you know how much each recipe makes, you can calculate how many batches of each dessert you need to make based on how much you plan on putting it each plate or tray. It will probably be a long day, but take it one dessert at a time, and you’ll get it done. Obviously, try to keep your kitchen as clean as you can and that way it will reduce stress when trying to find certain bowls or measuring cups. I loved having my son in the kitchen helping me measure and stir everything. He’s a great baker, and since it is his fundraiser I felt it was important for him to help me in the kitchen. He didn’t help me all day – he is only 3 and attention spans don’t last that long, but I did appreciate his help when I had it.
If you are delivering the baked goods a couple days after you make them, you can always freeze them to keep them fresh. This is also helpful if you live in a hot climate so that your chocolate doesn’t melt.
Hope these tips help! And good luck!