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Bake Sales at Wellesley

High School
Presented by the Bake Sale Contingency Mitigation
Planning Group

The Bake Sale Contingency Mitigation Planning Group (BS-CMPG) was formed
in July 2015 to investigate the effects of state and federally-mandated
nutritional guidelines on bake sale revenues, implications for the finances of
extracurricular organizations at Wellesley High School, and the feasibility of
alternative fundraising methods.
The groups membership draws on a broad range of student leaders who are
involved in extracurricular activities.
Over a period of three months, the BS-CMPG conducted test bake sales,
interviewed club officers, and researched alternative fundraisers.

Testing Procedures
Three bake sale trials to isolate variables
Control: used conventional foods during lunch period
Healthy: used compliant foods during lunch period
After School: used conventional foods after school

All three sales offered a cookie and brownie product for purchase at $1/ea.
Receiving organizations were stigma-free and no sales were marketed.
No emotionally-based purchase decisions


Effects of Compliant Bake Sales on Revenues

Accounting for a certain amount of experimental uncertainty and small sample
size, the tests broadly showed that holding compliant bake sales reduces
revenues significantly
Revenue from bake sales held after school (not subject to nutritional
guidelines) showed 32% reduction compared to an average control bake
Revenue from bake sales that featured compliant items showed 69%
reduction when compared to an average control bake sale
It was extremely difficult to bake or even buy items that met the
nutritional guidelines

Financial Implications for Extracurricular Organizations

Bake sales are an extremely effective fundraising tool, for reasons including:
Low barriers to entry, making bake sales a good option for smaller
clubs without the members or logistical capabilities to hold larger or more
complex fundraisers
Guaranteed and large customer pool (due to location in cafeteria during
High availability of possible dates and low turnaround time (there is a
schedule slot for a bake sale every week, and bake sales are not
constrained by weather or concerns about a significant planning process)

Financial Implications for Extracurricular Organizations

All student leaders of extracurricular organizations surveyed felt that bake
sales were their most consistent form of revenue.
For many clubs, including smaller ones, their costs (e.g. attending
conferences, running events, making donations, etc.), are covered entirely by
bake sales
A reduction in the consistent revenue stream that bake sales provide on the
order of magnitude seen in tests (30-70%) will have significant negative
implications for club operations if not offset by an alternative revenue source.
Most clubs have very low account balances, meaning without an alternative
source of consistent funding, any reserve funds would quickly be depleted.

Alternative Fundraisers
Car Wash
Prize contests
Fundraising events that encourage physical activity
Community donations and sponsorships
Partnership with a local business
Other alternatives (see report)

Feasibility of Alternative Fundraising Methods

Many alternative fundraising options exist, but they are hampered by a variety
of issues that do not affect bake sales, including:

Requirement of a significant planning effort (e.g. car washes, partnerships with businesses)
Requirement of a large number of students to run a fundraiser (issue for small clubs)
Regulatory hurdles (e.g. raffles)
Diminishing returns as more than one organization uses the same kind of fundraiser
Non-food merchandise has less broad appeal for students
Students are unfamiliar with other types of fundraisers and may be less likely to participate

Alternative fundraising options promoted by the states Healthy Schools,

Healthy Students manual (as well as other online sources) tend to be either
targeted for younger students or must be organized by an entire school or
district. Few options are feasible for small organizations.
Alternatives certainly exist, but they do not all compare to bake sales in terms
of ease, reliability, and effectiveness

The School Committee should not enact a policy regarding bake sales that is
more restrictive than regulations imposed by DESE. To this end, no policy
should be enacted until a policy (or lackthereof) is finalized by DESE.
For any policy enacted that restricts bake sales, a lengthy transition period
should be allotted as student organizations transition to alternative fundraising
Student organizations should explore alternative fundraising options and
cooperative fundraising efforts independently of a bake sale policys
The high school administration should ultimately be responsible for
implementing any policy enacted by DESE and/or the School Committee.