By Rachel Mulberry
So it’s time for that annual school, church, or fundraising bake sale, and somehow you’ve been voted to the planning committee…or maybe you got nominated to run the whole thing. Fear not! We’ve gathered some of the best bake sale ideas out there, added our own, and put them together right here just for you. ..and we bet you’ll have the most successful one yet!
1. The Lucy and Ethel Principle
If you’re a creative, visual, big-picture person, get on the phone right now and recruit a detail-oriented, organized, and numbers person to be your cohort; likewise, if you’re the detail-oriented person and good with numbers, ask that creative, dramatic neighbor to help you. A bake sale needs to look attractive, get people there, and make money. Know your strengths and weaknesses and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Every Lucy needs an Ethel. And come on, where would Ethel be without Lucy?
2. The Lord Harold Samuel Principle
Who? Lord Harold Samuel is a British real estate Tycoon credited with coming up with the phrase, “Location, Location, Location,” in response to the Three Most Important Qualities in finding the value of a home. And believe it or not, it’s important to bake sales, too! Don’t get relegated to the old gym, out-of-the-normal traffic pattern. Set up in the back of the church after services, or even in the parking lot. If your church or school has a cul-de-sac, you could get really wild and crazy and set up a table there and have a “drive-thru!”
3. The Football Principle
It’s not what you think…no tackling customers! Make sure your bake sale isn’t competing with any sporting or civic events. Check the civic calendar in your town and the ESPN schedule. After all, you don’t want to compete with the Super Bowl…unless you’re selling Super Bowl treat bags well in advance of the kick-off. (See #4)
4. The Super Bowl Principle
Yes you can co-opt a national event for your own bake sale purposes. A theme can go a long way toward building excitement for your sale. As mentioned before, a theme that features “Super Bowl Treat Bags” or “Half-Time Trays” or even “Haunted Treats” for Halloween can inspire the baking participants to really get creative and customers to remember when to show up with their money.
5. The Prom Dress Principle
Remember when you went to prom feeling like one-in-a-million…only to arrive and see that girl wearing your same dress? It almost ruined your night. Don’t let that happen at the sale. Make sure you don’t have 20 trays of cupcakes. Use a free volunteer form sign up like one at VolunteerSpot.com so everyone knows who’s baking what to make sure it doesn’t happen!
6. The Burger King Principle
Two of the reasons Burger King has been successful are being able to attract people in “off-peak” hours and offering “kids meals.” Borrow these ideas and offer free coffee all day, snack bags, or even “kid packs” complete with a cheap toy donated (or funded from a well-funded parishioner) from a bulk supply store like Oriental Trading Company.
7. The Pinterest Principle
Use this site for your table presentation. The gorgeous treats, tables, and ideas will inspire for days. Shamelessly getting a few ideas to inspire you will help to attract a bigger crowd.
8. The Social Media Principle
It’s free! It’s easy! Promote your event on social media. Make an event on Facebook, tease photos of the goodies on Instagram or Pinterest, Tweet photos, or even post trivia about your organization for a chance to win free goodies. Find a kid with a DSLR camera – preferably who needs volunteer hours for school – to take help take photos…perfect if you’re not social-media savvy. Have everyone in the organization share, re-pin, re-Tweet, or create their own posts. You can also design an invitation on sites like evite, including reminders that can be sent to everyone you know. And best of all, you can even have that same kid show up the day of the sale and send Tweets from the baked goods looking for a home! Be clever.
9. It’s Hip-to-Be-Square Principle
Buy the iPhone Square (look for Square promotions to keep costs to a minimal) and recruit someone with an iPhone to man (or woman) the booth. You can now take credit cards and happily watch your sales increase. I never have any cash, many people don’t carry checks, but everyone has that trusty plastic. Get a piece of it!
10. The In-N-Out Principle
When you walk into In-N-Out, don’t you just go “Aww” when you see those adorable paper hats? Well, why not have your whole staff don paper or even balloon hats…or what about red aprons…or something that makes people notice – and maybe even laugh or start a conversation that ends with a sale. They do it for a reason!
11. The Wheat Watchers Principle
And most importantly, make sure you have plenty of options for those who are gluten-free, sugar-free, or nut-free. It’s considerate and it makes good business sense! And your gluten-free customers will love you forever….and so will we!
So, we’ve set you up with some inspirational and fun ideas for your upcoming bake sale. And after all the recruiting, organizing, and rolling out dough, make sure to smile, Tweet, and roll in the dough! You can thank us later!
To get you started, here are a few bake sale favorites from the Bob’s Red Mill website. WARNING: so delicious…try not to eat all of your goodies before the big sale!
Makes 24 cookies
Contributed by Bob’s Red Mill
A delightful gluten-free almond cookie everyone will enjoy. Gluten free, lactose free, low cal, low carb.
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped almonds (whole shelled)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with nonstick vegetable spray; set aside.
In a bowl combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine almond extract, water, oil, and honey.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold in the chopped almonds.
Form dough into balls and place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake 8-12 minutes until lightly golden. Let cookies set on baking sheet 10 minutes; remove carefully to cooling rack. Enjoy.
Makes 8 – 10 servings
Contributed to Bob’s Red Mill by Dawn and Christine from Simply Tangerine
These bars are dairy free, soy free, and gluten free and suits many special dietary needs. This recipe can be made into cookies or bars. They are so chewy and delicious!
1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place all of your dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir together.
Add your wet ingredients to your bowl (canola oil, eggs, and vanilla) and mix together with a spoon or your hands. Make sure any brown sugar lumps are broken up and thoroughly mixed with the rest of your ingredients.
Press dough onto an ungreased rimmed baking sheet Bake 11-13 minutes or until the dough is cooked through, but your sheet of cookies isn’t super crunchy. Remember the dough will continue to cook while it is cooling.