How to Have a Cupcake Fundraiser

Cupcakes can be the basis for a successful fundraiser.
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A cupcake fundraiser is a method of earning money by selling cupcakes. Hosts can ensure a successful fundraiser by planning early, coordinating with volunteers, setting up in strategic locations, offering fresh cupcakes in attractive and colorful displays, and providing a wide range of different cupcakes in different flavors made with different materials.

1 Volunteers and Preparation

Announce that you’re hosting a fundraiser and set up a meeting with potential volunteers in which different people choose different tasks, such as baking, buying, storing and promotion. Contact grocery stores, schools and other local venues and ask if they would be willing to let you display your cupcakes on their property. If the number of volunteers is high enough, you can split the team into two or three teams and sell cupcakes at several different locations at the same time.

2 Baking and Kitchen Prep

While the hosts of some fundraisers order their cupcakes prepackaged, homemade cupcakes tend to sell better. For this reason, it helps to bake as many of the cupcakes as possible on the day before the fundraiser to ensure maximum freshness. One kitchen may be sufficient if it has enough ovens and you start the baking early in the day. However, depending on the number of volunteers, you may be able to recruit multiple people to bake batches of cupcakes on a single night and have them all assemble at the designated location on the day of the event. Pack each cupcake in a standard cupcake tin inside a plastic container and place them in the refrigerator overnight.

3 Fundraising Displays

On the day of the fundraiser, carefully wrap each cupcake in colorful cellophane wrapping to create an attention-getting display. Set out a few examples of each type of cupcake on the stand where the fundraising is taking place. Place the remainder in a nearby refrigerator. If you’re unable to obtain access to a large refrigerator, purchase or borrow a small, portable fridge that can be plugged in near the fundraising stand. Every half-hour, put the cupcakes on the stand back in the fridge so that they can cool, and replace them with cupcakes that are already cold.

4 Styles and Types of Cupcakes

Baking and selling cupcakes in a range of different styles is important because the more styles that customers are offered, the more cupcakes they’re likely to buy. Variation can be introduced not only by adding different kinds of frosting but by switching up the kinds of flour used and varying the amount of time the cupcakes spend in the oven. For example, one batch of cupcakes might be made with wheat flour while another is made with rice flour. If the fundraiser takes place around a holiday, offer holiday-themed flavors such as mini-cupcakes decorated with red and pink frosting in a heart-shaped display with small, crushed candy crumbles added, or caramel apple-flavored cupcakes for a fall harvest fundraiser. Consider offering gluten-free cupcakes for those who might not otherwise be able to participate.

Boze Herrington is a writer and blogger who lives in Kansas City, Mo. His work has been featured in Cracked and "The Atlantic."