Bake it off: How to run the best charity event of the year

Thanks to Britain’s new favourite TV show, the Great British Bake Off, more companies than ever are choosing sweet treats and cooking as their way of raising money for charity.

An impressive 12% of people were involved in a charity bake sale over the last year, following the most successful season of the Great British Bake Off yet. That’s 6 million people across Britain who are baking, buying and tasting for a good cause.

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At Opus Energy we’re no strangers to a charity cake sale, and while there’s always room for imagination and creativity when it comes to fundraising, we may have got the benevolent Bake Off down to a fine art.

To get you started, here are six top tips to consider when organising your next charity shenanigans. Baking cakes and giving back to the community – what’s not to love?


1. Presentation is everything


As this is a charity event, profit is most important, so you’ll want to keep any collateral costs low. That doesn’t mean that your Bake Off venue needs to look cheap, though.

Liven up low-cost paper plates with a circular decal printed en-masse from a computer – perhaps even add the logo of the charity you’re supporting as a visual nudge when people finish off their cake. Choose colour coordinating paper napkins to transform your event from stale sale to great bake.

Finally, don’t forget some sort of signage so bakers can write the names of their creations. Stick a paper flag to a cocktail stick for an easy DIY.


2. Try a deliver-to-desk scheme


Don’t just adopt a table for your cakes and hope the customers come to you. If you work in an office or a similar environment, try offering a delivery service so that customers can ring you to place an order.

It’ll be easier for potential customers to get their hands on some cake, and will drum up more interest when others see the tempting deliveries making the rounds (after all, out of sight, out of mind.)


3. Get judges in place for the full show


With an official event to kick the sale off, you’ll draw people in to the point of sale and open in spectacular style.

Bonus points if you can get Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood lookalikes (we’re thinking add a colourful jacket for Mary, or add some silver hair spray for Paul).


4. Don’t miss anyone out


Does anyone in your workplace have allergies or dietary restrictions?

It’s no fun when you’re on the outside of a cakeathon, so try to be inclusive and plan at least one bake sample that will be suitable for all. You could even consider adding a healthy option, such as this one of these smart alternatives, for those who want to participate without overindulging.


5. Establish a money jar


While money raising should never be aggressive, don’t wait for people to come to you with their cake money.

Label up a big jar or collection plate and leave it with the cakes. If it’s in plain view all the time, it could encourage extra generous donations throughout the day. At the end of the day, it’s about raising important funds for a worthy cause, so it’s important this isn’t forgotten amongst all the baking fun.


6. Get creative with your costing


Now, you can simple label each cake with its own price – or you can get inventive.

One popular method is to use an ‘all you can eat’ pricing option. For example: customers can pay £5 and then have the option to go back for more, again and again. This can be surprisingly effective – with individual prices, many people feel reluctant to buy multiple items so it’s unlikely that spend per head will be high. However, with this price they’ll feel like they’re potentially getting a lot for their money.

Remember, if you’re going to ask everyone to bake and bring something in, you could be left with a lot of spare cake – eating is encouraged!