How to Run A Bake Sale

At some point in your life, I can almost guarantee that you will be presented with the opportunity to do some fundraising for a certain cause. Whether you are asked to do so to help others or decide to do some charity of your own accord, the whole ordeal can be stressful and overwhelming – trust me, I would know. Having become involved in various charities and movements over the summer, mainly the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), I have had to do a multitude of fundraising and awareness projects. While I have done many things, by far the easiest and most effective project that I have found is a bake sale. Simple but effective, a bake sale is relatively easy to organise, popular, and most importantly familiar. People are far more likely to spend their money in a familiar setting/ environment than not.

With this being said, here’s an (almost) step by step guide to hosting the perfect bake sale.

First things first, it is important to organise the very basics of your event. Where will your event be? When will it be? Who is your target audience? Who can help you on the day? Why are you doing this fundraising in the first place? There are of course more questions that you could ask yourself and your team, but I believe that the ones above are the most important, and I would make sure that you definitely have these answered before you begin to advertise. Also, I would make sure that you have permission to stay in the place you have chosen, and that you also make these decisions as quickly as possible and in plenty of time to avoid rushing at the last minute.

Once you have the when, where, who, and why sorted, it’s time to create some buzz! Its time to make Facebook pages/ events, tell friends, send emails out (especially if you have a mailing list!), and send out leaflets – whatever your heart desires. I try and do everything electronically in an attempt to save paper, but any way that it is easy for you to promote the event, you should do it - exposure is important in enticing potential customers.  Keep the information you send out simple and easy to understand, but don’t be afraid to get colourful and creative.

Once you have sorted what the public see, it’s time to look at some of the more formal things you need to do behind the scenes. Firstly, it is essential to organise a rota for the day of the event, so that your stall is always being manned, and that people get a chance to have a break or grab some food. If you are part of a group, the other people involved should be your first call for this, but don’t be afraid to reach out to other people and ask for help. For example, I was a planning a CND bake sale and was struggling for volunteers, so asked some of our very own HC Aberdeen girls to volunteer, and they were more than happy to give up an hour of their time to help. As long as you are honest and respectful of what you need from people, most will lend a hand when needed.

Similarly, it is important to set up a money float i.e. an amount of money that is usually in pound coins or similar change that you can give to people as change. I would recommend a float of £20, and remember to take whatever the amount is back out at the end of the day to make sure that you don’t overestimate your profits and mess up your finances.

Now on to the fun bit, the baking! Knowing what you will make, and what others are going to contribute can help alleviate a lot of stress when it comes to the few days before the sale, so make sure to double check with people who intend to bake, and ask what creation they want to bring along. Personally, I like to look online for recipe inspiration, and collect all the recipes I want to attempt into one large word document – making sure to put the recipes in order of what I want to bake first, second, third etc. When compiling this list, I like to think about what needs refrigerated, what needs more time in the oven, and the temperatures that oven needs to be. All of these factors will affect what order you bake in. Finally, it’s important to think about allergens and allergies people may have; as a rule of thumb, I stay clear of nuts in any bake sale (it is honestly so much easier than trying to permeate baked items, trust me!). Also, in most places it is required that you fill out allergen sheets for every item you are selling: within the University of Aberdeen, AUSA provide these when a room/ space is booked for a bake sale, and they have the right to make sure you have filled them out, so make sure you don’t forget them.

The night before, I will always double check with everyone who’s helping on the day, just to make sure that they are all on board and are aware of what’s expected. I also like to pack as much stuff as I can in advance to make the next morning as stress-free as possible. On the day, I think it is really important to enjoy yourself, and not worry too much about what’s expected financially – what will be, will be and if you have prepared well enough you won’t have to worry. Furthermore, it's important in all of this to remember that you are fundraising for a cause you are passionate about, and as long as you get your message across to someone, even just one person, then you have done your job.

Below is a checklist of sorts that I like to follow the morning of a bake sale, to ensure I haven’t forgotten anything. Good luck!


What to Bring on the Day

  • Baked goods
  • tablecloth
  • leaflets (optional)
  • tongs
  • something to wrap the baking in e.g. baking parchment
  • napkins
  • hand sanitiser
  • allergy sheets
  • food for yourself and your helpers
  • the money float
  • copy of the rota


All pictures are Iona’s own.