Creative Bake Sale Ideas for Fun and Easy Fundraising

Updated December 11, 2019
bake sale fundraiser

Knowing how to do a fundraiser bake sale well can mean the difference between big profits and wasted volunteer hours. Bake sale ideas for fundraising are more than simply selling homemade baked goods, they're small businesses that can be used as fundraising ideas for kids and adults.

Bake Sale Recipes That Sell

The first question most people ask when planning a bake sale is "What are good things to make for a bake sale?" Knowing what your products will be before planning the whole bake sale gives you a focus and a theme for your event.

Best Selling Bake Sale Items

If you look at statistics from the most profitable at bakeries, lists of favorite baked goods in America, and America's favorite desserts, you'll get a good idea of what's selling right now in terms of baked goods. People are generally looking for either something familiar they know they'll love or something they wouldn't normally make at home.

  • Flavored cheesecakes, like vanilla bean or turtle
  • Churros, especially with sauces like caramel
  • Donuts, including apple fritters
  • Specialty cupcakes, especially red velvet flavor and around Halloween
  • Unique cakes in uncommon flavors, like carrot or pineapple upside-down
  • Fall pies, such as pumpkin or sweet potato
  • Traditional cookies, like chocolate chip and peanut butter

Bake Sale Pricing Suggestions

When you're pricing items, keep in mind the average cost of the ingredients and aim to price everything at round numbers to make cashing out simple for any volunteer. Use these suggested prices as a starting point from which you can multiply or divide to get prices for larger or smaller quantities. Prices can vary based on variety, especially if an item contains more expensive ingredients.

Baked Good Sales Price
Large Cookie $1
Small Cookie Bundle $1-$3
Single Cupcake $2-$3
Single Muffin $2-$3
Jumbo Muffin $3-$4
Brownie or Bar $2
Whole Cake $15
Whole Pie $15
Loaf of Bread $10

Unique Bake Sale Theme Ideas

Choosing a novel fundraising idea for your bake sale can help get customers more interested since it's something they haven't experienced before.

Healthy Bake Sale Ideas

Because so many people have food allergies and intolerances, a healthy bake sale might appeal to a larger crowd. Try to include items like non-chocolate, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan desserts. Whenever possible, source ingredients from local farms to stay with the healthy theme.

  • Set the bake sale up like a farmer's market where each booth features one specific type of healthy dessert.
  • Include a fruits and vegetables dessert tasting where shoppers can try unique, healthy dessert bites for an extra cost.
  • Add a nutrition facts card to each dessert so customers can see how healthy it is.
  • Sell reusable shopping bags with your group's logo or woven baskets to encourage eco-friendly shopping and make extra cash.

Breakfast Bake Sale Ideas

People love to eat baked goods for breakfast, but don't always have the time to make them. An all-breakfast bake sale works well at a breakfast dining event or for a morning bake sale.

  • Host a "Pancake Party" bake sale where you offer a variety of creative pancakes, DIY jarred pancake mixes, and bottles of pancake toppings such as canned fruits or local maple syrup.
  • A "Make Your Morning Easy" breakfast bake sale can include quick breakfast items like coffee cake, muffins, homemade protein bars, and cinnamon rolls customers can grab and eat all week or freeze.
  • Sell coffee themed desserts and baked goods you might eat with coffee, like biscotti, then sell coffee and mugs at a "Coffee Lovers" bake sale.
  • Throw a "Donut Carnival" where customers can play games such as a donut stacking game or eating donuts off a dangling string and buy fried donuts, baked donuts, or donut holes.
Playing Summer Party Games

Holiday Bake Sale Ideas

Whether you're hosting an Easter bake sale or Christmas cookie sale, holiday themed bake sales are great because they help busy customers provide awesome baked goods for holiday celebrations without all the work of making them.

  • Host a "Christmas Cookie Smorgasbord" where customers pay a flat fee for a single container they can fill with their choice of Christmas cookies.
  • An "Easter Egg Hunt" bake sale could include cookies, cupcakes, and cakes decorated like Easter eggs followed by an actual Easter egg hunt for kids.
  • Sell all things chocolate, pink, or red at a Valentine's Day bake sale that includes options to buy special gift packaging so the baked goods can be given as gifts.
  • For a Thanksgiving bake sale you could sell only pies, both by the slice and whole.
Christmas cookies

Clever Bake Sale Ideas

When it comes to unique bake sale themes, thinking outside the box is key. Look for an original angle that can make your bake sale stand out from the rest.

  • Semi-homemade baked goods are made from some store-bought mixes, like a boxed cake mix, but modified so they don't just follow the box instructions.
  • Host a savory bake sale that includes muffins, scones, and breads that aren't sweet.
  • Use puns such as a "You've been mugged", where you sell only desserts that come in mugs or can be heated up in mugs. You can sell the mugs too for an extra profit.
  • Sell a variety of desserts that are popular in different countries at an "Around the World" bake sale.
Chocolate mug cake

How to Run a Profitable Bake Sale Fundraiser

Running a profitable bake sale requires only a few steps, but you should allot a good amount of time to spend at each stage for planning. It takes about three to four weeks to plan a bake sale from start to finish. Check with your local health department to see if you need any kind of special permit to host the fundraiser before you start planning, but in general, bake sales do not require permits.

girls standing at fundraising bake sale

Step One: Decide on a Sales Goal

Choosing a sales goal from the start can help you decide how big your bake sale should be. For example, if you want to raise $1,000, you'd have to sell about 1,000 cookies or about 66 cakes. The sales goal will also help you choose a theme.

Step Two: Choose a Bake Sale Theme

Gather your bake sale planning team and brainstorm your best bake sale theme ideas. Check around the community to see what other bake sales take place during the year and see how you can make yours stand out. Consider what other fundraising ideas you can pair with each particular theme then choose the one that sounds most lucrative.

Step Two: Set the Sale Date and Location

Bake sales typically take place for one day only so the baked goods are fresh when customers buy them. Pick a date and time that most people will be able to shop, like on a Saturday. Avoid sales during typical work hours. Look for a location that easy to access and familiar to the community. You'll want a large space where you can have several tables set up. If you can find a free location, that will give you the most profits. Having access to things like clear-front coolers or bakery displays can help make your goods look more enticing.

Step Three: Solicit and Organize Volunteers

The backbone to the success of any bake sale are the bakers. If you can get professional bakers to volunteer their time, that's ideal. If not, you'll need to gather a great group of volunteer bakers.

  • Reach out to your organization stakeholders asking for volunteers to each make one or more items and volunteers to run the sale.
  • You'll want at least 10 bakers, each person can handle making one or two batches easily.
  • You'll want at least five people to help set up and at least two people to help sell or cash out at the sale.
  • Create a private communication channel just for the volunteer bakers and one just for sale volunteers to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Use a free online tool like SignUpGenius to keep volunteers organized and ensure you don't get too many of one item and see when you have volunteers at the sale.
  • Keep a master list of who is bringing what and who is volunteering when.
  • Give volunteers clear instructions on how you would like baked goods cut, sorted, or packaged.
  • To better track costs, you could have all goods come to your location early on bake sale day and package them there.
  • Give each volunteer an event timeline that includes when they should make their items, no more than a day or two in advance, and when and where they need to deliver their goods.
  • Ask volunteers to submit receipts, photos of receipts, or a written account of spending for the ingredients for all their baked goods.
  • Help customers with allergies and food intolerances shop by adding allergy warning labels for things like nuts and dairy.

Step Four: Market the Bake Sale

Now that you know your bake sale goal, theme, and what items will be available, it's time to market the event. Use social media or old-fashioned posters around the community to let people know about your sale. Include the location and time of the sale along with brief info about what will be available, general costs, and what the proceeds will be used for. Keep all your marketing materials cohesive by using the same graphics and fonts.

Step Five: Host the Bake Sale

Plan to get to your location at least two hours before the sale starts so you have time to get the place in order and allow a bigger window for baked good drop-offs.

  • On bake sale day, you'll need to allow time to set up tables and receive the baked goods before the sale starts.
  • Make sure you have startup cash and shopping bags.
  • Near your cash box or cash register you'll want a calculator, pens, your master volunteer list, and a tally sheet that includes all your available items with their prices.
  • Volunteers can wear aprons to fit the bake sale theme and should use food grade disposable gloves when handling any baked goods.
  • Have one volunteer run the cash box the whole time to keep sales consistent.
  • When the sale is over, you can either let volunteers take home leftovers or coordinate with a local church or food pantry to see if they can accept the leftover goods.
  • Use your tally sheet to see how many of each item was sold and your projected profit. Count your cash box, subtract the startup amount, and your actual profits should match the projected profits.

Step Six: Thank Volunteers and Customers

Within a week of your event, you should send out personalized thank you notes to all volunteers who helped with the sale. Let them know how much you made off the sale and what it will be used for. You can also let customers know how much you appreciate their business by putting an article in the local newspaper or sharing a message and photos on your social media event page.

Bake Your Way to Profits

Bake sale fundraiser ideas are great for school groups, church groups, sports groups, and any group of kids or adults. When you keep costs in check and do your research, bake sales can be both fun and profitable.

Creative Bake Sale Ideas for Fun and Easy Fundraising