Questioning the Recipe Behind The All-American Bake Sale

CookiesIt may be as quintessentially American as anything else, so at the risk of seeming unpatriotic, I simply don’t “get” bake sales.

Just today I got an email from a friend issuing a “save the date” type of message about a bake sale whose purpose is to raise a small sum of money for a project involving an organization that we are both part of. The note also asked me to bake some treats to sell, and to give my kids some money to buy treats that others make.

The way it plays out, my guess is that the sale will generate no more than $5 per family.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to do a pledge drive or find some other way of simply asking people for a little money than to put them through all this effort?

For years, I have enjoyed hearing leaders in World Wide DreamBuilders (WWG) talk about the enjoyment they gain by enabling causes dear to them to skip the bake sale route. From Howie and Theresa Danzik to Tracey and Kimberly Eaton, from Terry and Linda Felber to Dan and Sandy Yuen, these Amway Diamonds bypass the whole rigmarole by writing a check.

Thereafter, everyone—both the donors and the beneficiaries—moves on with their busy lives, freeing up more time to be pursue life as productively and creatively as possible. By contrast, I have never really understood bake sales or any kind of fundraising activity where there is this out-of-proportion amount of effort to produce whatever you are selling.

Combine that with the fact that everyone at these events is simply buying stuff from each other, and it strikes me as even more silly.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy baking more than ever, and probably more than most. And I am all in favor of selling—one reason why our nation has flourished is its capitalistic bent in which selling plays a core role. But “baking” and “fundraising” should not be anywhere close to each other in the same sentence.

One other uncomfortable aspect of these selling fundraisers is that I don’t want to be “guilted” into buying something that I do not want. I’m not into knick-knacks, or those holiday bazaar type of things that some crafty people are really enthralled with.

Same goes for subscriptions to magazines, gift wrap and way, way overpriced and underwhelming cookies (yeah, I’m talking to you, Girl Scouts.)

And as far as baked goods, I love sweets but I am pretty particular about the food that I eat or want my children eating. If something is sweet, I want it to at least be made with high-quality ingredients, not some highly processed, low-quality fare that would justifiably incur the wrath of the Food Babe.

So let’s just skip the bake sale altogether, eat what we want to eat, give ten bucks to the cause, and call it a day.

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