Who’s up for a bake sale? Frankly, who isn’t after the roaring success of The Great British Bake Off, which has enthused hundreds of thousands of people to get involved in charity bake sales?
According to research from the Charities Aid Foundation, close to £200 million was raised for charities in 2015 alone. But how do you go about organising a bake sale and why do you want to do it?
Doing It for the Right Reasons
You need to be clear about why you are raising money and who will benefit, while making the organisation and administration of the bake sale as transparent as possible.
There are a great many charities in the UK, but nobody really knows how many. The Charity Commission has, at the end of June 2017, nearly 167,000 charities registered. However, charities with very small incomes don’t legally have to register with the commission, leaving a clear figure uncertain.
As a general rule, it’s always best to make sure your chosen charity is registered and that you register your fundraising event directly with that charity.
Raising money for charity is an altruistic exercise – people have a real belief in the cause that they are working to support. For some, it will be medical charities or aid organisations, animal charities or charities supporting war veterans. If, for example, you have friends or family who have been injured in military situations, you might want to run a bake sale to raise money for a charity that supports them, such as Help for Heroes.
Everyone has different motives for either setting up a charity or raising money for it, and will frequently work very hard to ensure that the people the charity is set up to benefit will receive funding and support. Volunteers and supporters will always turn out to help, whatever the method of fundraising (baths of baked beans, anyone?), and a bake sale is a great way to involve not just them but also members of the public who will pay for – and enjoy – what has been made.
Organising Your Bake Sale
First, you need to have people who enjoy baking. Second, you need to have people who enjoy eating baked goods. The second is probably a lot easier than the first!
Before you start, brush up on food hygiene. There are no specific laws to do with bake sales, but you want to make sure that you are not giving your customers any problems when they eat your produce. Make sure that your bakers are using clean kitchens and surfaces as well as utensils, and ask them to label their cakes with ingredients so that buyers can avoid those with dairy if they are intolerant or allergic.
Cakes or biscuits with nuts or other potential allergens should also be clearly labelled, as should gluten-free ones. If cakes contain alcohol (and why not?), flag it up so that adults won’t buy them for children. It shows that you’re taking food safety and hygiene seriously and will help to attract more customers to your sale when they know this.
Advertise in your local community through posters, email and social media, giving the date and time and, of course, the venue. This means thoroughly proofing all your information so that it’s 100% accurate.
Theming your bake sale can be a lot of fun, challenging your bakers to think creatively when they are making their goods. You could suggest a sugar-free bake (with attendant health benefits) or a colour that relates to the charity that you are raising money for. Be as imaginative as you like – your bakers will undoubtedly “rise” to the occasion.
You could also run your bake sale as a competition (you’ll need to ensure absolutely impartial judges) and offer prizes for, say, the best-decorated cake or the one that sells the quickest. Make it fun rather than ultra-competitive.
Publicise Your Success
Take photographs, use social media to display the wares before they are consumed, and always let people know as widely as possible how much you have raised for your charity. It helps the charity’s profile and can encourage people who weren’t involved before to get involved now.
A bake sale can be of huge benefit to charities, making all involved feel pleased about the contribution they have made.