Today, raising money with a bake sale for a school, charity or organization is hard enough. Many people are short on cash. And the competition is stiff. So how do you set yourself apart?

Follow our list of successful bake sale fundraiser secrets.

Organize. Plan. Execute.
These are only words but when put into action, they can mean the difference between wildly exceeding your goals and falling short. We’ll briefly discuss these actions here, going into greater detail below.

As the bake sale fundraiser coordinator, you’ll want to organize the first meeting with your volunteers. The meeting is where you’ll plan all the steps leading to the actual sale. Questions to consider discussing in your meeting:

  • Monetary goals of fundraiser
  • Best bake sale locations
  • Best baked goods to sell
  • Assigning each volunteer a task (baking, selling, promotion, etc.)
  • Pricing
  • Packaging
  • PR

The execution phase consists of all the actions after your meeting: the baking, the packaging, the promotion, the sale, etc.

Successful Bake Sale Fundraiser Secrets

It’s All about Location
This is THE successful bake sale fundraiser secret. Find a high traffic area. Think about the busiest supermarket in your town. Is it Wal-Mart, Publix, Trader Joe’s, Safeway? Get permission from the store manager. Also, find out what permission/permits if any you need from your town to hold a sale.

Other options are local events such as fairs, sporting events, street festivals, etc.

Cakes, Cookies, Brownies
Ask your volunteers what they want to bake. Limit your variations to about 5 or 6 different items: cupcakes, cookies, cake, Rice Krispies treats, brownies and a couple specialty items like “nut-free cookies” or “gluten-free” cake for those with allergies or special diets.

Make sure the baked goods do not require refrigeration because they’ll be sitting out on table for hours. Ask the volunteers to list the ingredients of each item, but do not have them package the goods. That will come later.

Give your volunteers a time and place to leave their goodies, a day before the event.

Keep prices moderate at first. Try $1-$2 for cupcakes; $5-7 for cakes; 50 cents for cookies (or 3 for $1); etc. You can always lower prices throughout the day if you need to.

Get the Word Out
Get your volunteers to email their list of friends, family, co-workers. Have them post it on their Facebook pages. Use Twitter to Tweet the sale. You can reach hundreds or even thousands with a click of the mouse.

Also, go to your local media with a press release. Will your newspaper run a short story on your sale and the charity it benefits? How about a PSA (public service announcement) from local TV or radio?

Post flyers in places like the public library, schools, community centers, and other high traffic locations.

Packaging and Preparation
The day before the event, with all the goodies having been dropped off, is the time for packaging the items. Use your imagination. Individually wrap everything in clear or colored cellophane. Tie them off with ribbons, and twisties. Add colorful stickers as a final touch. The prettier presentation, the better it will sell.

Find baskets, trays, and other decorative ways to display your baked goods. Write descriptive cards with ingredients and pricing for each item.

You’ll also need tables, table clothes, and a cashier’s box with change (paper and coins). Draw several poster board signs listing prices and your charity, along with “One Day Only!” Keep a donation jar on the table to rake in some extra fundraising dollars.

Provide plastic utensils, paper plates and napkins for those wanting to eat on the spot.

Sale Day
You’ll want to have shifts so decide how long each shift should last and when to relieve your salespeople. Have your best salespeople staffing the table. Encourage them to bring their cute kids to help collect money.

We hope you implement these successful bake sale fundraiser secrets. When your sale is over, analyze what worked for you and what didn’t. Write them down for use in your next sale.

Read our “Fundraising Ideas” list for even more ways to raise money.