Bake sales are an important part of our culture, and are often a major fundraising source for schools and PTAs. But I’m sure you’ve been to some bake sales that were great, and others that were subpar. So what separates the great bake sale from the rest? Follow these 10 easy tips to make your next bake sale a huge success!


1. Make sure your presentation is organized, neat, clean and attractive. Use a nice tablecloth, cake stands (so you can vary the height), and table decorations (e.g., flowers). Make sure you have plastic gloves for serving, items to wrap up the purchases, etc.


2. Label every item. Be sure every item is labeled as to what it is and then note any ingredients that might be an allergen (nuts, wheat, milk, etc.)


3. Make the full variety of items available for the duration of the event. Don’t put out all of your best items at the beginning. Stagger the good stuff so as to keep the table interesting and appealing. Don’t let the table get bare early on in the event because it gives the impression that all of the good stuff is gone!


4. Sell homemade rather than store-bought items. It may be difficult for some people to “buy” into this concept, but real homemade stuff does sell better at these events. Also, it’s great to have a mix of savory and sweet items, both homemade.


5. Offer something different, like crock pot of chili or soup. Have containers for buyers to take home a cup or a pint.


6. Serve coffee or tea. This might entice those who shop early to buy a treat AND a cup of coffee. Be sure the coffee is hot and that you have cups, stirrers, creamers, sweeteners, etc.


7. Don’t put a price on any items. Make it a donation-only event. Studies show you actually get more money this way!


8. Advertise in a variety of ways. Certainly you will advertise to your families at school, but don’t forget to advertise around the school neighborhood, at the grocery store, library, etc. Use social media to help get the word out.


9. Try a theme for your Bake Sale. All cakes, all cookies, all soups, nationality theme, holiday theme, color or flavor theme, etc. You can carry a theme over into your advertising and decorating. How about “Chocolate Decadence” or “Paris Cafe”?


10. Acknowledge those who are sponsoring the bake sale and where the proceeds go. Everyone wants to know where their money is going, so be sure to let them know up front. You can have a small note that you put in every bag, a sign at your table, etc. When a buyer feels connected to your group and cause, they tend to spend more to support you.