Some bake sales take months of planning and lots of conference calls and committees and red tape. Well, forget the red tape, we want red velvet! When you need to put together a bake sale fast there’s no other way to do it then just to do it. Sadly in the past few years there have been so many tragedies that called for immediate action. Katrina and the Tsunami both come to mind. And now Haiti.
There are lots of other ways to raise fund and volunteers, but a bake sale has the added benefit of giving us a feeling of community and relieving us of some of the despair we might feel. Falling into a depression helps no one, and even if it seems like our 25 dollars or 250 dollars or 2500 dollars isn’t enough, every bit counts. And you can’t put a price on mental health. Keeping spirits up and letting people know that we care is priceless.
If you don’t already have a group of bake sale ninjas waiting in the wings, ready to spring at any given moment, then the best place to start is the internet. Put a call out on local message boards, facebook and twitter. Email all your friends and family. Even if they aren’t vegan, have ready some vegan recipes for them and help them along the way. It’s for a great cause, hopefully they will be receptive to it. Get a little group of people together to get things started. Once that’s in place, delegate the next steps.
Location: It might be hard to procure a location last minute – especially one that will let you have the bake sale free of charge. But once they know that it’s for a good cause, some places that might be open to it are churches, temples, community centers, libraries, and food co-ops. Public schools are a maybe, but usually there is a lot of bureaucracy that you would be best to avoid. You might also have luck with a local bar. Try not to pick a super sleazy one. A well lit, non-smoking bar that doesn’t have a lot of lushes hanging out 24/7 is a great place for a bakesale. Depending on state laws they will let the under 21 crowd in before 7pm or so, and they do appreciate the crowd a bake sale brings. Cause hey, beers and cupcakes go great together.
If it’s a nice day, you might also opt to have your bake sale outdoors. Again, it depends on the laws and how nice the cops will be. If it’s for a good cause, you probably won’t face harrassment, but use your best judgment. Pick a street with foot traffic where you won’t be to in the way. Maybe in front of a closed store or a school building? Don’t plop down in front of a business unless they’ve said it’s ok. Outside a public park that gets a lot visitors is also a great place.
What to serve: Make everything vegan of course! Make sure nothing is store bought. Cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, sandwich cookies, rice krispie treats, whoopie pies…these are always the first to go. Quick breads and muffins seem like big winners but unless they are covered in chocolate they always seem to be left to the end. Cookies are great to sell in bulk if you’ve got a lot of little ones. Make deals like 7 cookies for 5 dollars, or a dollar each. That way they’ll spend the extra bucks to get 2 “free” cookies. Have cute plastic bags to pack them in. Savory items like tamales or samosas can be a nice surprise. I’ll be putting up a few Bake Sale Greatest Hits recipes in a bit.
How to serve: It’s great if people bring their baked goods already plastic wrapped, but it’s fine if they don’t. The organizers should bring lots of plates and platters to display the baked goods beautifully. Here’s a great tip: Have tiered displays to lead the eye. An interesting display means you’ll bring in more bucks. Have cake stands or organizing trays to create different heights. If you don’t have cake stands, great creative. Place a bowl upside down and a plate on top of that.
Keep things sanitary by using tongs and wax paper to grab the goods. Have napkins available, and plastic bags so that people can take home a lot. Have pie slicers and spatulas as needed. Hopefully participants will bring these things, but as an organizer it’s a good idea to provide them just in case.
Ask people to bring an ingredients list for their goods, but no biggie if they don’t. Bring scrap paper and colored markers to make cute signs. Fashion them together with tape and toothpicks. Table cloths are great if the tables you’re using aren’t the most beautiful.
Have some forks and to go containers in case people want to buy a lot of stuff, and many people are willing to spend 20 bucks if you give them the means to get it all home.
How to get people there: Flier the neighborhood! Use community boards, telephone polls (if it’s not a big legal issue), hand fliers out to people face to face. If you’re doing handouts then print out four fliers on one sheet of paper then cut them (to conserve paper). Contact your local paper and local news, let them know about the event. There is probably a local blog in your area, contact them, too. Hey, contact the mayor’s office and let them know. You never know who will show up! If you can direct them to a blog with more info then that would be awesome. Make sure to create a Facebook page and annoy everyone with invites.
This is what I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask and if you have anything to add, please chime in! I’ll update this as ideas are added.