experiments in cooking

A friend asked me recently if I’d help plan a bake sale to raise funds for her daughter’s upcoming university trip to Mali (where her daughter will complete coursework for an intercultural studies degree through Grace University in Omaha, Neb.). I thought it sounded like a good idea, and I said sure, I’d help.

Of course, it’s a busy time of year, and I’ll be involved with this sale the same weekend as our church’s Thanksgiving dinner and my work Thanksgiving potluck, but I like a challenge—particularly a baking-related challenge. And I’ve never seen this friend back off from a challenge either, so I know we can get it done.

Personally, I’ve planned a lot of events, and I especially enjoy planning events that involve food. Also, from time to time I’ve done volunteer sales: manning bake sales myself, working a volunteer car wash (every American girl has to do this at least once, right?), running and assisting with garage sales, volunteering at a library book sale, that kind of thing.

But neither my friend or I have ever planned a bake sale.

We’ve got most of our plans lined up, including advertising, sign-up sheets for providing baked goods or manning the table, that kind of thing. We got a location lined up (both doors of the south Walmart in Lincoln on Saturday, Nov. 20). We know that we need extra wrapping and plating supplies. We know the weather will be chilly so we’re planning to sell hot drinks too. We know we need change.

What we don’t know is what tends to sell best, what should be sold in large quantities and what in smaller quantities, how much baked goods we might need to have enough but not too much left over, that kind of thing.

So, in the next few weeks, I’m looking for the best bake sale advice that friends and readers can offer. What makes or breaks a bake sale? What are the top tips my friend and I should know?

Share your wisdom—leave a comment, track me down in person, send me an email—whatever.

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