I don't know what I expected of the Share Our Strength Bake Sale, but I know marketing wasn't on my mind.
Here's what I learned:
1. Follow the baking trends. Cake pops were a huge hit along with decorated cookies. I don't think my favorite banana nut bread recipe went over well with the public. Maybe two or three of them were sold. I ate four of them (because they really are THAT good) and the rest went to a food pantry.
2. Branding is essential. This one surprised me the most. People would come by and say, "Oh, this looks good. Who made it?" If we told them the blogger or bakery name, more times than not, the person bought it. If we told them that a home baker made it, the item was placed back on the table. ??? What makes an established blogger's kitchen any better than mine? That was confusing.
3. Presentation matters, even when it's for charity. I made it clear that my presentation skills were lacking and I was told it was not a problem. Au contraire. Don't do this:
Sandwich baggies and curling ribbon with handwritten labels = NOT COOL. I didn't take pictures of the items made "professional bloggers," but they had nice logos and printed labels.
4. You are networking all the time, whether you realize it or not. A politician came by and thanked us for participating, then gave us her card. I really did accidentally lose it, so I don't know who she is. She was very nice and she seemed sincere. A few bloggers who had attended the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference stopped by and chatted with Christie Ison of Fancy Pants Foodie who organized the bake sale. They had no interest in any of the rest of us working the sale. I do remember them and no, I won't give them a shout out.
I know....I'm such a cynic. I'm used to volunteering for school bake sales and making food for the homeless, all of which don't really care what it looks like, they are just thrilled that you are participating. I'm still going to help at public charity events, but I'll be a little more prepared for the next one.