Do You Offer Tastings For Charity Events???

Business By brenda549 Updated 15 Sep 2011 , 3:32pm by johnson6ofus

brenda549 Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:19pm
post #1 of 37

I am donating a cake to a charity event in December. They have requested a tasting of 3 different cakes with 3 different fillings. If I were a bakery that had these just lying around, I would be okay with it. I am a per order baker/decorator. I also charge for tastings, and that charge is absorbed into the contract if signed. If I had cake orders for the requested flavors, I could just make a few extra cuppies, but the orders I have in the next few weeks are not for the flavors requested.

Any advice?

36 replies
mariacakestoo Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:21pm
post #2 of 37

So you're giving away cake for the event, and you're asking if you should give away cake for free before too? Uh, I wouldn't, but that's just me. I am happy to donate to worthy causes, but I'm not going out of way for people to be picky.

Cakewishes Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:33pm
post #3 of 37

Yeah - I don't get that either. You are DONATING a cake (which includes your time and labor) and they are requesting a cake tasting! Really??? No way. I am sure it is for a worthy cause, but I think that if you are donating a cake you have the right to decide what flavor cake and filling you wish to donate. Be honest with the folks requesting the tastings; let them know that you are not a bakery that has extra cake/batter/fillings that are always available and that the cake flavor you will be donating is "such and such".

jason_kraft Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:55pm
post #4 of 37

I would offer the tasting, but charge your normal tasting fee. That way, if the charity wants to pay for the tasting they can do so.

cakesbycathy Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 6:47pm
post #5 of 37

And after a request like that I'd probably be rethinking my donation. Seriously.

I would be very, very clear what the limits of your donation are going to be since it already sounds like they are trying to take advantage of you.

I would tell them that you are NOT providing a complimentary tasting. However, if they would like to PURCHASE a 6" round, homestyle-iced cake they can choose the flavor.

brenda549 Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 7:22pm
post #6 of 37

Thanks, everyone. It sounded off to me as well. I was just not sure how others have handled such a situation. This is my first and possibly last charity event. I have composed an email letting them know they can purchase a tasting of flavors on hand or purchase their choice of cake. There will be no complimentary cake other than the one for their event.

rlowry03 Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 7:24pm
post #7 of 37

I agree that you shouldn't offer free tastings for something you're donating. I would make small cakes/cupcakes available for purchase.

Relznik Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 7:51pm
post #8 of 37

Sorry, but I think that's just bl**dy cheeky! icon_mad.gif

southerncross Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 8:09pm
post #9 of 37

I'm perplexed....is the donated cake going to be auctioned off? Are you just providing free food for the event participants to nosh on? In either case, I can't imagine why they want a tasting. i agree with the others, donate a cake (you can use the tax deduction I suppose) but charge for the tasting. although I'm thinking of starting a non-profit and go to bakers and ask for donations...and while I'm there, I'll ask for tastings of my choice....I may never have to bake again...

BlakesCakes Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 8:56pm
post #10 of 37

I agree with cakesbycathy!

I do all of my cakes for donations to charities or directly for charities. I DO NOT do tastings. Now, nearly all of what I do is the result of word of mouth, so whomever suggests me has generally tasted my cake or knows someone who has tasted it.

I do allow a charity up to 125 free servings per year--1 cake, 4 cakes, or 6 cakes, whatever--and I limit all cakes to 1 flavor per 40 servings (or less)--so, if they want to taste 3 flavors, then they'd use up all 125 of those free servings and they'd get nothing for another 12 months icon_surprised.gif

Rae

leah_s Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 9:08pm
post #11 of 37

I'm not terribly tactful and I would have straight up laughed at the request. And probably said "You're not serious?"

costumeczar Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 9:36pm
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I'm not terribly tactful and I would have straight up laughed at the request. And probably said "You're not serious?"




Yeah, me too! That's ridiculous!

brenda549 Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 11:16pm
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

I'm perplexed....is the donated cake going to be auctioned off? Are you just providing free food for the event participants to nosh on?




The cake is for serving at the event. If I understand correctly, it is a dinner benefit.

I was so thrown off about the tasting request that I forgot to mention they want to sit down to discuss design and theme. I specifically asked if I would have creative control before I committed to this event. If they just want to sit down and talk about my ideas and their colors, that is fine.

She has not replied to my email. Here is what I sent:

*I do not offer complimentary cake tastings. If your charity would like to pay for a cake tasting the cost is $25 for up to four people and only for bite sized flavors I have on hand at the time. This is due to the fact that I do not have a bakery/store front. I work from a shared commercial kitchen and bake everything to order. I cannot guarantee the flavors you request will be on hand at the time of the tasting. Another option is for you to purchase your choice of a 6 inch home-style iced cake (no decorations) in the flavor and filling of your choice for $36.*

cakestyles Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 11:23pm
post #14 of 37

Wow, now I've officially heard it all.

When one donates something, the organization on the receiving end doesn't get to dictate what they're getting.

You definitely need to set the boundaries or else they'll try to take advantage of you.

QTCakes1 Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 11:36pm
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakestyles

Wow, now I've officially heard it all.




icon_surprised.gif You and me both! Heck to the nah, with the tasting and I have allowed in the past that they could tell me the theme and colors, but I treat this as a gift and I get to decide how it will look. I just really don't understand people now a days. Even a charity asking for hand outs have a sense of entitlement?! icon_confused.gif

tracycakes Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 12:00am
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I'm not terribly tactful and I would have straight up laughed at the request. And probably said "You're not serious?"




I had the very same thought when I read this post. Seriously?! Probably wouldn't be getting a donation from me.

southerncross Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 1:01am
post #17 of 37

Brenda, your email was spot on. Well worded, gentle but to the point. You respected yourself and have the right to expect that others respect you as well. Good on you.

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 2:48am
post #18 of 37

WOW! I KNOW I have heard it all now! Torn between laughing at them, swearing at them, or just walking away. FREE/ donation is now at the whim of the organizers?

I DONATE, I DECIDE... period--- no choice of flavors, colors, or designs. Obviously "what's in it for me" is exposure so it is up to ME to decide how I get to represent myself. HUMPF! icon_mad.gificon_evil.gificon_mad.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 3:23am
post #19 of 37

Well, as I said, I do all donations.

For the most part, if a charity is requesting a cake, they need it for a specific function. I expect them to have color and design requests.

If they want a generic sheet cake to serve from the back, they can have that, but if they want a showpiece, I'm happy to oblige.

It's my work and I want it to be up to MY standards, as well as theirs, but they're requesting a donation doesn't make it ALL up to me. They don't get relegated to second class, beggars, or guinea pigs.

In many ways, the donation is advertising. At these charity functions, dozens of people will see and eat the cake. Who knows what work may come your way?

But, as I said, I don't offer "free" tastings. For a charity, the number of "tasting" servings would come off of the 125 servings that I offer as the donation. For an individual, they'd have to make a donation FOR the tasting servings and then also donate for the final cake....no "discount".

Rae

scp1127 Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 4:06am
post #20 of 37

I'll play the other side and I agree with it. If they are going to serve it, they want to know what it tastes like. When I do a charity event, I drop off a few cupcakes as a treat and to set their mind at ease. They don't ask, I offer. But I really can see their point. As I have stated this unpopular statement in the past, I have had many bad cakes baked by pros. They should feel comfortable with what they serve.

Blakes, I understand your point of view. You do a lot of charity work and obviously have a great reputation.

In the case of an auction, how is the auctioneer or announcer going to describe your cake and tell people how great it tastes? Maybe it doesn't taste great. I would think they should know.

If this is a Black Tie Event with upper income people and a premium ticket price, then they should know what they are getting to make sure it is up to their standards.

KoryAK Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 4:32am
post #21 of 37

You have plenty of time between now and December. Bake them a small cake when it is convenient for you and tack the cost of that onto the donation for when you write it off on your taxes.

mcaulir Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 8:29am
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I'll play the other side and I agree with it. If they are going to serve it, they want to know what it tastes like. When I do a charity event, I drop off a few cupcakes as a treat and to set their mind at ease. They don't ask, I offer. But I really can see their point. As I have stated this unpopular statement in the past, I have had many bad cakes baked by pros. They should feel comfortable with what they serve.

Blakes, I understand your point of view. You do a lot of charity work and obviously have a great reputation.

In the case of an auction, how is the auctioneer or announcer going to describe your cake and tell people how great it tastes? Maybe it doesn't taste great. I would think they should know.

If this is a Black Tie Event with upper income people and a premium ticket price, then they should know what they are getting to make sure it is up to their standards.




I completely agree that they shouldn't just 'get what they're given' because it's a donation, but the OP agreed to provide a certain amount of time and product, then this request was tacked on afterwards, as I understand. The charity really should have made clear exactly what was required in terms of meetings, tastings etc when they asked for the donation.

I think a charity does have a right to dictate what they will accept as donations. Obviously, they want something that looks and tastes good for a fundraising dinner. But the OP isn't required to give them whatever they ask for past the agreed upon donation. If what she's offered is unacceptable, they can take nothing from her instead.

Plus, if it's a black tie event, surely they can spring for a $25 dollar tasting as part of the costs associated with putting on such an event.

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 12:38pm
post #23 of 37

If offered $10, they can't (shouldn't) ask for $100.

I agree, a donation is not the "junk" leftovers (OT- do you know how much the Salvation Army spends to dump "junk" donations?,icon_eek.gif) but it still has to be within the means you offered. Also, unlike a paying customer, for purposes of "looking good" at the event, you want to showcase your best cake. I would also be concerned that someone "on the committee" would choose some foo-foo flavor... rather than the "old standbys" that everyone loves (and makes me look good!). Notice the OP said they wanted to try some flavors she doesn't plan to make in the next few weeks?

Bottom line, they are a "customer" (paying or not) but that doesn't mean they hold a blank check to order outside what you offered (size, upcharge flavors or fillings, decorations, etc.). If you don't "do" tastings, then I see no reason to "do" one for them.

brenda549 Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 2:29pm
post #24 of 37

I appreciate all of the feedback given. Everyone has posted valid points from both sides.

My concern was they were requesting a tasting on a set of specific dates and I do not have orders or the time to bake the 3 different flavors and fillings they were requesting. I am a one woman operation and this is not my primary job. As I stated in my original post, if I had a bakery or storefront and these flavors on hand, no problem. I also have no problem, if an order comes along for the flavors requested, baking a few cupcakes for them. But only a few, not enough for an entire committee that wants to convene and munch on cake.

I am not treating this as a leftover situation, but I am also being realistic and not expecting much work to come my way from it.

It is the whole going out of my way to go out of my way for them that was really bothering me.

So far, my contact person has been understanding. We will see how it goes when we meet for design and theme.

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 2:32pm
post #25 of 37

Brenda... good luck! Well handled! icon_biggrin.gif

cakestyles Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 2:44pm
post #26 of 37

I'm very specific with the terms of my donations...servings, flavors (3 to choose from) and design within reason.
I basically offer a certificate in the $$$ amount that the donated cake can cost.
One time I had a crazy request for a cake with mechanical components that would have sold for $$$$ it was then I realized the need to set boundaries upfront.
It's been my experience that the few requests I've gotten from donation exposure were for more donations.
So I do a couple each year to the organizations that are dear to me and don't expect any business in return. If it comes that's a bonus.

scp1127 Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 6:23pm
post #27 of 37

I'm with cakestyles. Only donate to causes you want without the idea of it generating orders.

When I donate to something that I am associated with, such as my daughter's prep school, I am reaching my target market. But I make sure I give plenty to that source so that it isn't self-serving. But some of that does come back to me. My other charities are not groups that will bring in business. But I don't expect it.

In my interview, I stress the issue of serving tried and true crowd-pleasers, as many people will not enjoy the odd flavors. We settle on a flavor, the majority of times it is Red Velvet. I then send cupcakes. I did do a charity for Breast Cancer Awareness with Buddy's custard yellow cake recipe and raspberry FBC and filling to go with the color scheme. They loved them.

QTCakes1 Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 7:03pm
post #28 of 37

I don't think anyone meant to treat the organization as lucky to get left overs. They would of course get something they liked, but I am sorry, you they would never get 3 flavors of their choice with the 3 frostings of their choice. I thought it was very gernerous that the OP offered them 3 choices of what she had on hand at the moment. I'm sorry, but I've seen a few charities get a little carried away.

cakesbycathy Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 9:32pm
post #29 of 37

Sorry, but I would NOT be spending time having a consultation over this cake. This is a DONATION, which means that you can give me the theme and some colors and how many servings you need and I will choose how the cake will look, based on what my personal time and financial constraints are.

Obviously you will make them a delicious and beautiful cake. However, I would be laying down the law so they can stop looking a gift horse in the mouth. Otherwise they can get their free cake from somewhere else.

Cakewishes Posted 14 Sep 2011 , 3:37pm
post #30 of 37

cakesbycathy - I completely agree with you. I mean I am sure it's for a worthy cause and all, but c'mon! let's not push it. give me the colors and the overall theme and trust that I will do a good, FREE job.

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