Our blog here at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is intended to inspire you to get off your rump and host a bake sale or fund raiser to support cancer research. We want to get you excited about a sweet endeavor for a worthy cause. But life with children’s cancer is no cake walk and as stories from bake sales throughout the country come in, we will, on occasion, arm you with both great ideas and powerful stories. . .in the case of this entry, a brief encounter with one customer who reminded us all of our purpose in being here. Read this blog entry from Regina Schrambling, a friend of Prince Liam and his family, for her tips and her customer experience.
“Lessons from a thrown-together bake sale organized by someone who had not done this since she was a Girl Scout 40-some years ago. . .
Seven women and one cabana boy raised just over $1,000 in five hours on Saturday, selling a combination of baked goods for people and puppies as well as cookbooks. The combination was key to success, and the single theme of food was great. Since my friends are wannabe carnival barkers, they corralled people walking to Central Park, the subway and the crosstown bus by yelling out the cause of raising money for children’s cancer research all afternoon. With a steady stream of traffic, our location was great.
Some things we learned:
· The cause really matters: people would stop when they heard “children’s cancer.”
· People will pay in NYC but underselling helped; often people said, “Keep the change.”
· “Homemade” is also a very seductive word. Everything we put out was made by one of us except the dog biscuits Sue brought (homemade, but not by her because dog owners are very fussy feeders).
· A whole cake will not sell. One of the volunteers donated a gorgeous glass carrier, so I baked a devil’s food layer cake to put in it, thinking we could sell both for a premium. Even the “happy birthday” rhinestone tiara on top did not help. We wound up selling by the slice late in the day.
· Finger food, things that can be eaten while walking, sell best.
· Cupcakes with sprinkles on top for kids were a huge hit; the sprinkles were key. Sue baked chocolate and vanilla, with pink and yellow frosting respectively.
· Rice Krispies treats sold out first, though.
· And you can never have enough brownies; one woman bought Rachel’s coconut brownie and came back later for another.
· Labeling was also helpful rather than having to explain what was in every cookie or biscotti.
Things just set out on trays or in bowls moved faster than those wrapped in little bags; there’s something about seeing food right out there. We had tongs, though, so people could see we were serious about hygiene. And we had lots of little bags to put the cupcakes and cookies in.
Our neighborhood is diverse, but we realized we started selling too low and then made things a dollar. Pricing cupcakes at $1.50 or two for $2 moved them faster. Otherwise we quickly found 50 cents was a hassle with change.
Having the cookbooks as well as the baked goods was great because they lured people to the tables and kept them there browsing, which attracted more people. The fact that all the books were new was also important; we didn’t have musty, crusty old covers cluttering up the table.
We needed a lot of hands on deck — we had two people selling baked things, one for books, one doing money and one floating. Sometimes people wanted to talk; a woman stopped to flip through the books when she heard “children’s cancer” and told me, “There is no god. I know because my little boy died.” “What happened?” “He was born with a lot of problems. Children should be healthy.” She didn’t want the sweets, but she bought two cookbooks.”
If we at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer were granted just one wish, it would be for children everywhere to be protected from the suffering associated with pediatric cancers. As if a child receiving a diagnosis of cancer weren’t terrifying enough, the treatment options are brutal and often leave these youngest of patients in extraodinary pain with long-term side effects, all for the goal of defeating evil, awful cancer. We, too, believe children should be healthy and are working tirelessly to create a world of less suffering, less pain, less fear and more healthy children.