Thursday, April 26, 2012

The beginning of the BAKE SALES - 2011

Okay so this is how it all started.... June 2011, I became an active parent in the DublinDollars Group. This group was formed of parents who wanted to get involved with fundraising idea's to help raise money for our March 2012 Ireland Trip. Shorecrest High School Marching Band including the bagpiper's and Highland Dancers were invited to participate in the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade. Our high school has been invited back every 4-years since the early 90's. It's quite an honor to be invited by the Lord Mayor himself. A 12-day trip to Ireland was scheduled from March 14-25th, 2012, and both Kenedee and Kyle were amongst those students to participate in this parade.

Kenedee, a senior in highschool and her 4th year of Highland Dancing, has just completed her 2nd year of co-captain for the year. Kyle, a freshman this year dropped marching band and took up the bagpipes. Kenedee say's she talked him into it, Kyle begs to differ. They really needed piper's so Kyle committed to play for the next 4-years. By the time Shorecrest returns to Ireland, Kyle will have just graduated. This was a once in a life time opportunity and I wanted to make sure they were able to attend. At the time this whole process began, Ryan granted me permission to go as a chaperone so there were 3 in our family traveling to Europe for the first time. (Will post about that trip later)

As a parent wanting to get involved yet still working my full-time daycare job I decided the one thing that I could do while working from home was to be the head chair person for the bake sales. I can bake while kids are napping and feel like I'm still accomplishing something. My goal was to sell more then they did 4-years ago. The total then was almost $350. I don't know how many bake sales it took to sell $350, but I set the personal goal to sell at least $1000 worth during the course of this fundraising season. Who knew what the next 9-months would be like. Here's my story....

July 2nd, first fundraiser for this trip. Carwash in Richmond Beach. They wanted a bake sale to go with it. Okay, no sweat, right? I sent around sign-up's (which I'm very experienced at doing thanks to RS) and asked for any volunteer's to help provide baked items. I guess I figured everyone knew how to bake, so I thought. I wanted everything in portion control sizes, individually wrapped and everything delivered to my home the day before so I could organize and make adjustments if need be. UGH...I WAS MORDIFIED by what showed up for that first bake sale. Apparently everyone that has never baked before were the one's who signed up. It was a disaster. I had people bringing me everything under the sun and not to mention, hardly anyone showed up with product the day before like I requested. They showed up at the carwash with their hot pans of brownies right from the oven, too warm to even cut. (BTW, that day was about 85 degrees outside as well. Thank goodness we had a tent to protect us from the heat) There were so many different items it was so overwhelming for those who were shopping. Some items couldn't even be sold, they were that bad. Maybe my standards are a set a little high, but seriously, I didn't feel right about putting some of these items out for sell. Thankfully we had several "Coffee Event" fundraisers coming up at the rest stops where they needed more baked goods. Since those items were set out for donation only and "NOT FOR SALE", anything left over from the car wash was used at those events. First bake sale of the season brought in $400. I was pleased with already selling more at this one event then 4-years ago.

After this first car wash, I decided to take matters into my own hands and change how the bake sales were going to happen.  With the exception of 2-3 other people whom I hand selected for certain items, I decided to do all the baking myself for any future bake sales.  I had no idea at that time how many more were going to be planned or asked of me, but I was fine with it.  Baking is my passion so it was all fun and at times a new challenge for me.  By the time the summer was over, I had baked for 5-6 carwashes, a farmer's market and a rummage sale.  Each opportunity to sell baked goods, I would try and change things up a bit to add variety for those many returning customers.  My name was getting out there in our community and people were requesting certain items and placing personal orders.  I discovered a couple of websites that become my best friend.  On-line companies that I could purchase packaging materials from.  I wanted everything to look like it just came from a bakery.  Another parents was printing up labels to for me so that I could inform customers if products and nuts or not.  I quickly learned that I wasn't charging enough for my baked goods.  One parent in particular would come to my bake sales and buy just about every frosted sugar cookie I would make.  (His wife was the one making my labels) 

Then it became Fall.  We had several more events and concerts lined up where my baked goods were requested.  I challenged myself once again.  Almost every time, I would sell out.  So I started thinking, man I'm spending a ton of money on ingredients and in the big scheme of things, I could have just wrote checks out for my own kids' WCE account and they would have benefited even more.  By me providing bake sales, the monies went into a general pot which all the students who earned hours could tap into.  (Once again will explain that later)  I then sent out an email to parents requesting donation's for basic baking ingredients and gave out my wish list.  Parents were eager to donate as long as they didn't have to bake themselves.  FINE BY ME!

Even after the holiday's we continue'd with a couple more events ending with the Big Band Swing Dance.  By the time all my baking fundraiser's were over, I personally helped bring in about $3500 in baked goods for the DublinDollars Group.  That's a lot of product when most items went for $1-2 each.  It varied by the event.  I met my personal goal in more ways then one, and for that I'm thrilled. The picture's I posted on this story were for the LFP Farmer's Market July 16th and 17th.  I was actually at my family reunion in Utah and couldn't attend it, but delivered all my products the night before I flew out.  The Farmer's Market was a huge success but there were a few others that helped provide items.  I couldn't do it all this time since I had already planned this trip.  I was okay with delegating, but thought about the event the whole time I was gone.