Bake Sale Fundraising Tips: How These Women Raised Over $1.6 Million

Bake Sale Fundraising Tips: How These Women Raised Over $1.6 Million

In a country where far too little of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is allocated specifically to child-specific research, fundraising is everything—that’s literally why Cookies for Kids' Cancer exists. 

Three of our organization’s superstars —Amy Christenbury, Amber VanderMeer, and Leslie McCraney—have been Good Cookies for well over a decade now, hosting over 50 bake sales and raising well over $1.6 million! (Let that sink in: Three volunteers. Over 50 bake sales. Over $1.6 million raised.) Their bake sale playbooks are packed with smart strategies, good-to-know takeaways, and lessons learned.

Checking in with them seemed like a great idea because everyone from first-timers to veterans looking to level up their bake sales can benefit from their expertise.

Don’t price baked goods

Hands-down, their most important tip. Make this your mantra: “Take what you want, give what you can” This approach consistently maximizes donations versus pricing individual items. Instead of a straight business transaction, the goodies become more like a sweet thank-you for donating, which gives both sides the warm fuzzies. Here are some more of their best tips:   

Start small

“Don’t overwhelm yourself early on,” says Amy. “My first bake sale was in my front yard.”

Location, location, location

Choose a high-traffic spot. Think like a real estate pro: Location, location, location. “You want to set up someplace with lots of people coming and going,” says Leslie. “The more the better.”

Give very specific instructions

“Tell bakers that everything needs to be individually wrapped,” says Amber. “If people bring a big platter of unwrapped cookies that creates work at the last minute which distracts from other tasks.” Also, tell them to clearly label anything that contains nuts, Leslie advises. “People do ask.” - Encourage clearly labeled gluten free, dairy free, vegan options and more. 

Use technology

All three super hosts use tech in every way possible to appeal for donations, streamline planning and publicize the event. Social media is a fantastic way to spread the word, even more so when you can get friends to share and re-share details about the place and time. Leslie tells people that re-sharing a Facebook post about a bake sale is a free, two-second way to help. And speaking of technology…

Go cashless

Create a QR code for your event. This offers a simple way for the ‘But-I-don’t-have-any-cash-on me’ crowd to donate money digitally, says Amber. Not familiar with this? Check out for the basics.

Re-frame your thinking

Tend to shy away from asking people to help? Think differently. “You’re giving people an easy way to give to a very important cause,” Amber points out. “I’ve actually had many bakers thank me for giving them the opportunity to help.”

Never make assumptions

You never, ever know who will help and who won’t. “I once had an unhoused gentleman absolutely insist on donating a dollar,” recalls Amy. “Honestly, that felt priceless.”

Tap teenagers

A lot of teens need community service hours, whether for school, faith based organizations, honor societies, college admissions etc. Reach out to local Scout troops or ask at the high school if there is a Key Club

Enlist grocery stores

Amber has had good luck with approaching supermarkets for donations. Usually, they can’t donate cash, but they might be able to donate baking basics (think flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips) or a store gift card or credit. “I’ve used donated store credit to pick up slice-and-bake dough and given that to someone to bake off and wrap,” says Amber.

Schedule strategically

Community event coming up...such as a blood drive, car wash, sports tournament, 5K, parade? Inquire about setting up a table there for a bake sale!

Offer water

At a dollar or so apiece, a $6 case of bottled water can add $24 to your bottom line. If someone donates the water, even better—a great option to suggest to someone too busy to bake.

Inspired to GET INVOLVED?  We can help!

To access tons more fundraising ideas and step-by-step guidance, just click on GET INVOLVED on our homepage at or email We're here to help you every step of the way.

Share your ideas

Have a bake sale tip or success story you'd like to share? We'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below.

1 comment

  • Great initiative for children’s welfare.

    Fruitful efforts for a better future

    Moses Ahimbisibwe

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published