Hiya, i make cakes as a hobby really for friends and family and so does my aunt and best friend. one of my cousins runs a charity craft fair 3 times a year and after being let down by the person who usually sells cakes we considered doing it but as its just a one off for us its not going to be worth all the hassle of getting different licenses done for each of us and paying for the food hygiene courses for us all and adapting all of our kitchens to accommodate laws etc so i wondered if we asked for people to just make a donation or just had a sign saying voluntary donations welcome for the cakes instead of actually selling them does it change the legal requirements, i cant seem to find much relating to laws for donations instead of selling. thank you
Probably not, but you should check with the organizers of the fair. Some of them require a license if you're doing anything with food or food samples because they won't cover you under their liability insurance.
Is the "donation" to you or to the charity?
Not a legal issue, but keep in mind that what people choose to donate is likely to be less than the cost of ingredients, since most people have no clue. Unless you have a "suggested donation" price, which might help.
Magda_MI is right. People will donate less or perhaps even far less than the cakes are "worth" if they were sold. Unless a suggested donation sign of $XX or $XXX will yield the money based on past history at this particular charity craft fair, you're probably better off with you, your aunt and your friend just donating $20 each toward the charity--cheaper for each of you, no problems with legal, and the charity benefits.
Our family started doing this when the kids were in elementary school and would bring home the catalogs to sell cakes and candies for fundraising for the school. If they sold $50 worth of stuff, they got a $2-$4 "prize". Early on, we decided to give the school $5 to $10 cash, and buy the $2-$4 prize for the kid. Everybody was a winner for less money and we didn't have to buy some idiot item that was priced outrageously high.
The best way to get the best answer, is to ask your local health department or department of agriculture that regulates food,
food preparation, sales/donations/gifts, wholesale/retail, etc. , if you are in the U.S.
Do not be afraid to ask the right people. That is what they do.