There's more to hosting a fundraiser than baking favorite treats.

Who doesn't love a bake sale? They're one of the oldest and most traditional ways to fundraise for a school, team, church, or other organization, and it's easy to see why: You're selling donated baked goods and people volunteer their time, which means it's almost 100 percent profit. Plus, just about everyone would agree that there's nothing better than nibbling on a homemade cookie or brownie while they're watching a ballgame or out for a stroll in the park.

Planning a bake sale isn't hard, but it does require organization skills; you'll probably want to delegate one person as the leader (or is that you?), then ask one or two people to act as their right hands. There are the other volunteers to think about, too: You'll need to enlist people to bake and deliver the items to the sale, to help get the word out (through posters, flyers, emails, or an online post), to help set up the tables and goods the day of the sale, to sell the baked goods, and to help clean up after.

assorted baked goods on table
Credit: CatLane / Getty Images

When soliciting volunteers, it can be helpful to have them sign up using a free online service such as SignUpGenius. For those who are donating items, you can ask them to list what they're bringing or just ask them to list their name. Be sure to give a few guidelines, such as how you want the goods packaged (e.g., do you want cookies and brownies individually wrapped, or should they just bring items in a container they don't need returned?) and if foods containing common allergens such as nuts are okay. You'll also need to let them know where and when to drop off their items. And just to be sure, check local health codes to find out if there are any rules or regulations you need to know about. You can even suggest that if people are looking for ideas, friendly, approachable crowd-pleasers are always a hit, such as brownies, blondies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate cupcakes, carrot cupcakes, Rice Krispie treats (or some twist on them) and whoopie pies.

You'll need tables, tablecloths, napkins, and a box to put money in (start with a few dollars in change so if your first customer only has a larger bill you can break it). Have your volunteers drop off their items the night before or the morning of your event. When you're ready to set up, arrange the goods and decide on pricing. It's easiest to keep things simple and charge the same price for everything. Of course, if you're selling entire pies or cakes, pricing should adjust accordingly. And at the end of the sale, consider offering 50 percent off.

A few last tricks: Have a few boxes of sandwich bags for customers who would like to eat their treats later, bring more napkins than you think you could possibly need, and keep a few bottles of hand sanitizer nearby. You can even ask volunteers to bring these items on the sign-up site if they don't want to bake.


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