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Fundraising Tip #4: Bake sales

Written by on June 2, 2010 at 9:48 am

Walking burns calories that need to be replenished. Sometimes we're tempted to satisfy both that requirement and our sweet tooth. The good news is that you can use this excuse to have a bake sale!

Bake sale cupcakes

Has fundraising ever been so indulgent?

Bake sales are a time-honored tradition to capitalize on one's domestic talents. By setting up a table of cupcakes, pies, cookies, and muffins, you can offer your friends and colleagues an opportunity to sate their cravings while supporting your fundraising. Good places to hold bake sales are in your workplace's break room, at your church or synagogue, or at your child's school — all with permission, of course. You can even combine the event with your yard sale fundraiser so that shoppers have something to munch on while they thoughtfully peruse your antiques.

Baked goods can be sold by individual pieces, or they can be bundled, such as three cookies in a plastic bag. Typical sale prices are $1/item, but anecdotal evidence suggests your fundraising may be more fruitful if you allow the customer to make a good-will donation of their choosing.

To encourage those sales, try to make the menu diverse and unique — it may be easy to grab something at the donut shop, but your customers will appreciate knowing that what they're buying from you can't be found anywhere else. (This is especially true of atypical or ethnic foods, such as marzipan, pista sandesh, or savoiardi.) Print a small list of ingredients to place with each item, so that those with dietary restrictions or allergies will know what's safe to eat. If you need inspiration of what to bake, I recommend Allrecipes.com's exhaustive dessert collection. If the baked goods are your own creation, bring copies of the recipes and offer to sell them for an additional donation!

Let us know your success stories, or share your favorite recipes here!

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

Fundraising — flashbacks to childhood

Written by on August 19, 2009 at 11:30 am

If one were to describe my fundraising or selling skills, it might read something like,"Has difficulty asking for money even when the cause is noble; is too shy to barter even when in Mexico on vacation; required younger brother's assistance selling Girl Scout Cookies."

Trouble selling Girl Scout cookies! How bad is that? So here I am, about forty years later, preparing for my fifth Challenge Walk and proud member of the very successful Blister Buddies — and my knees still knock when I think about raising money.

So what kind of advice could this former Girl Scout and all round selling weenie have to offer?

  • Personalize the asking — My brother, sister, parents, aunt, and cousins all support me. I walk for Patty, my team captain; some of my family have met her, while others only know her story through me. I talk to them about MS and how it impacts Patty and those I've met at the Challenge Walk. Never forget how important it is to tell your MS story.
  • Have a bake sale — Even I can stand behind a table filled with homemade treats and make a sale. The Blister Buddies added a bake sale component to our annual yard sale this year, and not only did it add to the revenues — it slowed people down long enough to hear our story. I can't tell you the number of people who said "keep the change" when paying for a cookie or piece of cake.
  • Wear your message — I have a drawer full of MS shirts, hats, bags and pins. I wear them as often as I can, with the result that someone almost always asks about the event or the team.
  • It's okay to think small — Tens and twenties add up. Next year I plan to recruit people to have a yard sale with all or part of the proceeds going to MS. Our team has in-kind support from two printing companies, so I can provide my fundraising recruits with signage and other assistance. Bakes sales, dinners, similar functions all can be hosted by others to benefit MS; think about the number of new ears that will hear your MS story!

Fundraising isn't easy for most of us, so just remember that when you're telling your MS story, the listener can't hear your knees knocking!

Joan joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2004 when her friend and now Blister Buddies team captain, Patty Thorpe registered to walk. Patty, diagnosed with MS over 10 years ago, shared her diagnosis with Joan early on in their friendship. The undertaking of that first Challenge Walk and the three that followed not only strengthened Patty's and Joan's friendship, it began an MS educational journey that continues well after mile fifty each year.