So it may seem the most obvious thing on the planet but trust me, an entire year of charity fundraising definitely taught me the tips and tricks for squeezing every penny out of a bake sale. Here are my absolute top tips that I wish I had known:
1.Reduce your costs.
Seems obvious but you can actually spend a lot of money on a bake sale and not get that much back. The first thing you need to know is that nobody is going to spend more than £1 on cake so you want to be spending between 10-30p per cake to make a profit- the less the better. The best way to do this is to buy everything as cheaply as possible, it seems like cheating but I always made the most money when I bought plain, un-iced fairy cakes or pound cakes, then bought supermarket-brand chocolate spread and ‘Nutella’ spread and used that as icing. It looks just like homemade and obviously tastes good but is much much cheaper than making your own. The Morrisons 12 pack of cupcakes is only £1, the ‘Nutella’ is only 80p for a whole jar and can last through several bake sales and the sprinkles are around 90p for a small pot, if used sparingly they can last quite a long time. Additionally, I used to buy a packet of ‘M Savers’ Cornflakes (for 35p a 500g pack) and some packet of milk chocolate (91p for 200g) and make cornflake cakes with them using as many cornflakes as possible to make a high yield of cornflake cakes at a low cost.
Once I did a bake sale with a girl who made a rum cake which ended up costing her almost £10 and which she sold for less than half of that! With this in mind, I would urge you to stay away from anything with expensive ingredients such as nuts, alcohol, high-quality chocolate and anything that contains dried fruits.
2. People eat with their eyes
No matter how delicious a cake is, people simply will not buy them unless the food looks really attractive, this goes for your entire table too. The best thing I can recommend is using pinks and reds to decorate your table as they attract humans to food. Use brightly coloured cupcake cases if you can, as well as a cheap plastic tablecloth and try to make a theme for your sales such as Easter or Halloween. Make your food as beautiful as possible and people will be attracted to it.
3. Psychological tricks
Ok so now I know this sounds really strange but trust me it actually works. Firstly, I don’t know if this is a weird British politeness thing but I really noticed that nobody will buy a slice of cake if no one has taken the first slice. Literally, I would take home whole cakes some days while everything else would be sold out. The best thing you can do is to cut the first slice yourself and eat it yourself, somehow this encourages people to buy slices from the cake rather than leaving it due to a weird sense of politeness.
Secondly, don’t write prices for your wares, just ask for “a small donation”. Because it’s for charity, most people will pay way more and you are not obliged to give change. You do get the odd cheap-skate who does pay less than you would like, but the majority of people will happily pay more for a good cause.
4. Ice when you get there
Carrying around a bunch of iced cakes is a total nightmare, the icing goes everywhere and they look really shoddy afterwards. I would recommend icing and decorating the cakes once you arrive at your destination, this requires arriving a little earlier but is well worth the effort.
5. Be seen
If people don’t know about your bake sale they won’t come to it. The best thing you can do is advertise on social media and in posters etc but obviously, this won’t reach everybody so make sure that you set up your table in a busy area. I always used to set up in the main entrance of my Students Union so everyone would have to walk past my table to get in.
I hope that these little pointers help you out in your fundraising efforts, good luck and stick with it!