Bake sales are a tried-and-true fundraising method. Since the baked goods are donated, all the proceeds go towards the cause. In just a few short hours, hundreds of dollars can be raised. One common bake sale opportunity is on Election Day since polls are typically open all day. To make your goodies even more tempting, you can easily make these Election Day printable cupcake toppers. They take a generic cupcake and turn it into something Instagrammable!
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Bake Sale Success 101
The first time I participated in a bake sale was in college. A club I belonged to was raising money by selling baked goods in the cafeteria during lunch. At first, I thought that college kids wouldn’t really want to buy much since they are typically short on cash. Boy, was I wrong! I found that they craved homemade goodies, and would come back for seconds (and thirds) of the pumpkin bread I had made. (Thanks to my Junior High Home Economics teacher for an easy, quickbread recipe for that one!)
At that bake sale, we had a “pay what you want” pricing structure. Most people went above and beyond and paid us more than what I would have picked as the price. So we were able to raise a decent amount of money in just a couple of hours.
Portioning and Packaging
Since then, I have participated in dozens more bake sales by contributing baked goods. I find that people typically want single-serving-size items, so it is helpful to individually package each item. For most types of cookies, that means two or three cookies in a treat bag. If you are selling cupcakes, these clear cupcake containers are ideal. They snap securely shut, and don’t require assembly like the cardboard cupcake boxes do. Plus, since they are completely see-through, it is easy for the customer to see what they are getting.
Having pre-wrapped servings is definitely more hygienic as well since the volunteers handling the money are not also touching the food. In this day and age, your customers will appreciate that!
If customers are buying several items, it is helpful to have bags for them to carry their items home. It can be as simple as brown paper lunch bags. (If it is a fundraiser for a school, have the kids write thank you notes on the outside of the bags. It adds a nice added touch, while also teaching them to show gratitude!)
Unfortunately, at a bake sale stocked with donated items, it is almost impossible to guarantee that items are allergen-safe. Even if someone did not use nuts in their baked goods, their kitchen might still have had traces of nuts in it, so you can’t take the chance. I will never forget the bake sale we had on Pi Day one year when a family donated a pie they had purchased at a supermarket bakery. They attached a handwritten note saying it “might have been made in a facility that contains nuts.” Well, it was a pecan pie, so it goes without saying that it contained nuts!
If you do wish to offer allergen-safe options, your best bet is to buy commercially prepared and packaged items that are clearly labeled as allergen-free. People with allergies would feel more comfortable buying brands they are familiar with, as long as they are still individually sealed.
As people have become more health-conscious over the years, they might not be interested in eating any baked goods. However, if you offer beverage options as well, you can still make a sale. It could be as simple as setting up a coffee maker and providing an assortment of dairy options. If you get a variety pack of single-serve coffee pods, customers might be willing to try out a new flavor since they are only buying one cup rather than investing in a whole box of a specialty flavor.
For the tea drinkers, set up an electric kettle for boiling water, and put out an assortment of tea bags. You could also have packets of instant hot cocoa mix on hand since those are always a hit with children.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert
If your bake sale is going to be held over a longer period of time (such as longer than two hours) it is a good idea to have an assortment of goodies. People don’t necessarily want to buy items with frosting at 7:00 a.m. But they would buy muffins or slices of banana bread at that hour. Once you get past lunch, that is when the cupcakes and cookies will become big sellers.
Think about the coffee shops you frequent and how they display their baked goods. They typically will have little signs in front of each tray so that customers know what it is without having to ask. Similar signs are especially useful at a bake sale, where the people staffing the table are generally not the same people who baked the items. The signs can be as simple as an index card folded in half with the name of the item printed neatly in bold letters.
If you are charging different prices for different goodies, make sure to put the price on the sign as well. It is helpful to also put the name of the item and the price on the back of the sign. That way, the people working at the table can easily add up the prices.
Election Day Cupcakes
The school at which I teach has a bake sale on Election Day as a fundraiser for our 5th grade. Since voting takes place in our school buildings, the students have off that day for security reasons. Several of their families volunteer to work shifts at the bake sale. The kids make excellent salespeople, as who can resist when a friendly ten-year-old entices you to buy homemade cookies?
I typically make my red velvet sour cream cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. (The recipes are at the bottom of those linked pages.) I add red, white, and blue sprinkles to make them even more patriotic for the occasion.
Making Election Day Cupcake Toppers
I have noticed that for the past few years, people have been posting pictures of their “I Voted” stickers on social media on Election Day. That gave me the idea to create Election Day printable cupcake toppers that are easy to make. Print them using either an inkjet or color laser printer onto plain white cardstock. Since I designed them as rectangles, you can easily cut them out with scissors or a paper cutter.
The easiest way to assemble them is to use double-sided tape to attach a toothpick to the center back of the design. Put another small piece of double-sided tape along the right edge of the back. Then fold the cardstock in half to create the Election Day printable cupcake topper.
If you don’t have double-sided tape and are using glue instead, be very careful not to get ANY glue on the part of the toothpick that will be inserted into the cupcake.
If you are putting the cupcakes into the clear containers, do not put the toppers in ahead of time. They will not fit into the container. Instead, you can hand them out separately. Or, you can sell them as an “extra” to raise even more money for your cause.
Promoting Your Bake Sale
It’s all about social media when it comes to spreading the word on the day of the bake sale. Take closeup photos of each goodie and post them on the organization’s social media pages, along with the details of the hours the bake sale is taking place.
As items sell out, add a “Sold Out” graphic to the photo and post it to social media again. That way, your potential customers will know to come down sooner rather than later to get the items they want.
If you have any artists in your organization, consider making a photo backdrop for the occasion. Your customers can snap photos of themselves at your bake sale. If they post it on their own social media pages, they will be helping to spread the word about your fundraiser.
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee will entice customers to venture on over to the bake sale. This can be especially helpful on Election Day, as some people vote on their way to work and might not have time to make a separate stop at their usual coffee shop. They will appreciate being able to multi-task as they vote!
I would love to hear if you use these at an Election Day Bake Sale. Please share your bake sale tips in the comment section below!