How to Host a Bake Sale fundraiser

Have you ever put on a Bake Sale Fundraiser? I have many times and it is always amazing to me all the baked goods people bring and come to purchase. A few years ago we did a bake sale for one of our parishioners who was struggling with leukemia. 

We were blown away by all the community support that we received for this event. We raised over $1,700.00 for Mary and her medical expenses. That, my friends, is an amazing amount of sweet dough.

Here are a few things to think about if you are looking to host such an event.

Before you really can do the planning you need to have an organized leader and ready volunteers. Volunteer jobs include bakers, callers, advertising, set up/clean up, and actual selling the day of the event. 

1) How much money do you need to raise? Set a goal of how many baked goods you need to sell to reach that goal. 

We didn't have a monetary goal. We just knew that we wanted to sell an insane amount of baked goods to make as much money as we could for her. I was in charge of this event and I new that we had to have at least 200 baked goods for this to work out. I was thinking 200 x $5= $1,000 which kept me focused. 
2) Write down your goal and make out a sheet with how many baked good needed. 

As you call people or people call you, add their name, contact number and what they are bringing. This will help you keep track of what is coming in and follow up if something doesn't show up. 

Make sure to tell the bakers to clearly label the baked good and to specify if something has nuts, no nuts, sugar-free, gluten-free,etc. 

3) Before you start calling people to bring goodies, have all your information set for the event.

Why? You don't want to have to waste time calling people back to provide more information. 

What do I need to know? You need to provide them with sale location, why you are hosting this event as well as the date and time. This is when you will tell people when they need to deliver their baked goods. I suggest the day before or the morning of an evening event. Unless you have massive refrigerator/freezer space, only accept baked goods that do not require this. If someone is bringing a dessert that requires this, have them bring it to the actual event. Tell them to label their dessert and put their name on it. Also tell them that they to bring it in a container that they do not want returned. If though we said this, some still brought desserts in containers that needed returning. 
4) Buy paper products and serving gloves. Bring knives & serving pieces.

Depending on the size of your event, you decide what you need. We planned on selling whole cakes, pies and desserts for one price and then having some so people could buy individual pieces. Our bake sale went along with a Fish Fry (that was controlled by another group and they kept their money separate and ran it on their own.) So knowing that some would want just one serving dessert, we had items available for that, too. 

Make sure you have plates to pass out individual servings. We purchase to-go boxes in small and large for this. That way if they didn't get to their dessert they could take it home. The other reason we did this was because some people were just coming in to buy fish & dessert and leave. So we had to make it easy for them to do that. 

We wore serving gloves to keep from touching the food. This worked great. Have on hand napkins & paper towels as well as wet wipes because a dessert will fall on the floor, guarantee :) Have available plastic wrap and foil to reinforce any all ready covered dishes. 

5) Advertise

I had 10 people that I asked to find 20 desserts! The 10 had all the information and a sign up sheet to fill out. Keep a time frame in mind and a cut off date. Collect all the data and put it into your master list. This will help you see what desserts you still need to gather. Not all 10 were able to get 20 desserts, which worked out find because some got way more and other adverting brought in more desserts.

Make sure that the callers keep track of their people and offer to pick up desserts of those that can't get them to the event. 

Advertise in your local paper (we had to pay for our ad so be aware of that cost), create a Facebook Group (wish we had this a few years back) and call local community leaders and let them help spread the word. 

The amount of advertising greatly depends on how big of event you are hosting. If we are just having a small bake sale at church for a specific cause, we don't take out an ad in the newspaper. We will though, put announcements in the bulletin and call people to ask for donations.
Make signs. I had the youth make signs for the event. They posted them all over the place and did a great job! Don't be afraid to ask kids to help. Remember that most of the time there are people out there waiting to help. 

6) Set up for the event.

This is the easiest part of the entire process. Make sure you have plenty of table space for all your goodies. We grouped them together to make it easy for people to purchase. So all the pies were together, cakes, cookies, etc. Make it easy and label the tables so people can go right to what dessert they want. 

Cover the tables with table cloth and put out a few theme decorations. 

7) Price your items.

I've done this several ways. You can individual price items or have them make a free will offering. People are ALWAYS generous at these events. My goal for this large fundraiser was $1000. So I priced most everything $5 but of course there were exceptions. Cakes, pies, desserts that clearly took a lot of time to make or were made by "well sought" after bakers, were priced higher. We would sell cookies by the $5 dozen, $3 half dozen and even $1 for individual cookies!
Price according to where you live and what you think people will pay. 

Be prepared for extra cash coming your way. People would always pay more for their desserts, too. 

Be prepared for last minute donations. We had quite a few people bring in desserts all evening. Just put them where they belong and slap on a price tag. 

8) Half priced goods.

The last 20-30 mins of your event you need to make sure everything is sold! That is the point of this event and you don't want to be stuck with 9 different varieties of brownies. Announce half off sale and get rid of all your desserts. Even at half off you will still make money, people will pay more than the half off price and you won't have to eat the leftovers.
9) Final money count.

It is up to you if you want to deduct any of your personal expenses before giving the money to the recipient. This is where you can cover your cost of the newspaper ad, paper products, hall rental, etc. If you have connections you might be able to get all of these things donated so that would cut down on the extra expenses. 

Please make sure that you get the money to the recipient within a day of the event. Ask ahead of time if cash is wanted or check preferred. You don't want to take over $1000 in ones or pennies to a person who needs the money to pay bills. A check would be nice so that it can be deposited in the bank. On the other hand, cash might be needed for other expenses. So ask and make it easy on them and yourself! 

10) Say thank you!

If you were the one in charge, make sure you thank your large donors and those that helped you. Have them pass on the good news of the success of the sale.

Good luck! If you have any questions, just ask! If you have tips to share, I'd love to hear them.


  1. Wow! Great advice! I've never had so much success from a bake sale... maybe it's time to try again? :)


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