Meggie Smith: How to Host a Successful Bake Sale

Filed under: Bake Sale,Inspire — admin @ 1:04 pm October 29, 2012

Today’s guest blogger, Meggie Smith is a fourth year medical student at New York University.  As a past bake sale host, Meggie offers her tips for how to host a successful bake sale.

My life has crisscrossed with pediatric cancer more times that I would have liked. In 1991, my brother passed due to complications from neuroblastoma, the same type of cancer that took Liam Witt’s life. In addition, a girl in my preschool class had a below the knee amputation due to cancer, my high school best friend’s sister had a brain tumor, and, most recently, my brother’s tennis buddy has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. Thus, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a charity I am passionate about.

Last year, I hosted a bake sale for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, raising $1,200 for pediatric cancer research. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a charity started by my friend, Gretchen Witt, who started the organization after her son, Liam, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age two. Gretchen was frustrated that many of the potential therapeutic treatments for children’s cancers were unavailable due to lack of funding for new therapies for pediatric cancer. So, Gretchen took it upon herself to host a cookie sale around Christmas 2007 to raise funds herself. By selling all 96,000 cookies, Gretchen raised over $400,000!

I am most inspired by what Gretchen and the Cookies team is striving to do – make sure no parent hears, “We have this treatment, but it isn’t available yet.”

In planning my next bake sale, I made a list of some of my top bake sale tips. I hope they help you if you’re planning one, too!

TWO-THREE MONTHS BEFORE:

1. Pick a date, location, and rain check location. Look for areas of high traffic and visibility.

2a. If you live in New York City and plan on having your bake sale in a city park, I suggest getting your park permit well in advance. It is fairly easy to apply through the NYC Parks and Recreation Department. I booked my space for 5 hours: 1 hour set up, 3 hours of bake sale, 1 hour of clean up.

2b. I suggest making your “sale” not so much a “sale,” but an event with suggested donations. This makes the Parks and Recreation permit easier to obtain and is much easier on the sale day itself (see below).

3. Start asking friends if they can help. Make your master list of volunteers – who wants to bake, who wants to help on the day of, who wants to make signs, so on and so forth. People will appreciate the heads up well in advance. See if you can have some vegan or gluten free options available.

4. Ask local bakeries if they are willing to donate products.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE:

1. Follow up with all of your volunteers and bakeries who are donating to make sure they are still willing to help or bake!

2. Start making signs. The Cookies For Kids’ Cancer website has great ideas and has stickers and such available for sale.

3. Find something to put money in. I suggest the OXO Pop Containers. They do not lock so do make sure someone is watching the money at all times!

ONE WEEK BEFORE:

1. If you are picking up baked goods from anyone, schedule how you will make your rounds.

2. Make an emailable flyer to send to your friends and/or post on social media sites (twitter, facebook, etc).

3. Pre-make cookie dough and freeze it. Will make day before baking much quicker!

DAY OF:

1. Allow at least 1 hour of set up.

2. Have people give a donation for a baked good, rather than selling them for a specific price. I used a $2 minimum for each item. This helps prevent confusion with money exchange and speeds things up if it gets rather crowded.

3. Send people out into the periphery of the park or a few streets over with a few baked goods to sell. This will help attract more crowds, too!

Good luck planning your event!

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