Church bazaars offer both the congregation of a church and the people of the surrounding community a time for gathering, shopping and eating in a festive atmosphere. Some churches use the funds earned during a bazaar to sponsor missions, support local charities or sustain the church itself when tithes alone do not cover upkeep. The manner in which the funds are distributed post-bazaar, however, does not affect the way they are earned. Your bazaar must have multiple popular items for sale to attract potential buyers and stimulate spending.
Verify that your church can sell homemade food items under state law by contact the state department in charge of food health and safety. Most states allow for churches to sell food items a set number of times per year before licensing is required. For example, Wisconsin allows up to 12 days of selling food per organization per year, but it does require certain common-sense guidelines be followed.
Contact members of your congregation through telephone calls or an announcement at church and solicit donations of prepared food items, unused cake mixes or funds for the purchase of groceries. Explain that the items prepared or the food stuffs donated will be used to prepare food items to sell at the upcoming church bazaar.
Inform members who agree to prepare food for the bazaar of any state guidelines that must be followed in the food preparation process. Common-sense guidelines usually include basics such as using fresh, high-quality ingredients, frequent hand washing, preparing food only on clean surfaces and cooking food to a proper temperature.
Prepare small food items such as fruit pastries and donuts that attendees can consume as they shop as well as popular and seasonal cakes and pies. In the autumn, pumpkin pies are a natural fit while spring and summer lend themselves to chilled meringues. Perennial favorites such as fruit cobblers, cheesecakes and fruit pies are always a safe bet for solid sales.
Visit a local bakery or a grocery store bakery to view current prices on baked goods in your area and price your homemade goods within the same range. If your local bakery charges $1.00 for two hot donuts, charge $1.00 for two at the bazaar to ensure customers do not find your prices to be too high when compared to their normal buying experiences. This also ensures that you do not undercharge for the time and materials that went into the preparation process.
Separate hot and cold food items on the day of your bazaar and keep perishable items at their required temperatures. The USDA says to keep food at temperatures between 40 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. "Leaving food too long in the temperature "danger zone" causes foodborne bacteria to grow to levels that can cause illness," the USDA reports. If you sell items that require refrigeration such as cakes with cream cheese frosting or meringue pies, keep the pies or cakes on ice or refrigerated until they are sold.
Crafts and Rummage
Contact individual members of the congregation who are crafters and ask them to donate crafts to the next church bazaar. Target your hot selling items to the needs of your local area. Wooden yard signs may be quick sells in warmer areas of the country while the cold winters of other regions lend themselves to the selling of gloves, scarves and knit caps.
Ask for a recommended price point for each item to ensure the church is adequately compensated for the time and materials the churchgoer invested in the product.
Request donations of gently used household items, books, videos and clothing articles at a church service or in a church bulletin sent to members by email or postal mail. Explain that donations collected will be sold at the church bazaar and specify the areas of the community or the missions the bazaar funds will benefit.
Advertise the craft and rummage sale at your church's bazaar in community newspapers. Specify a few of the more popular item types available at the sale to bring in customers outside of your regular congregation.
Separate the items in your sale and assign prices to them. Color-coded price systems or individual pre-printed price stickers make expedient work of tagging each item, particularly if you solicit volunteers to assist in this process.
Price your items according to the averages prices for used goods charged at local thrift stores. Because these are the prices many of your customers are accustomed to paying for second-hand goods, your prices will be neither too high or too low. However, should you spot an expensive handbag, hard-to-find appliance or rare collectible, research the price of that item online and price it according to its standard selling price.
Determine if the area in which your bazaar takes place could support the addition of a few vendor booths or tables. A church gymnasium or basement usually has the space to spare. The renting of vendor space at your church bazaar to third parties can contribute a substantial amount of funds to your coffers and provides attendees with more items to browse.
Set a price structure. Charge a set amount of money per square or rent 10 by 10 foot spaces. The latter arrangement allows you to quickly determine how many booths your space can support and avoid overcrowding.
Announce your intention to rent booths to third-party vendors at a church service to allow church members first access to the spaces. Specify a church member preference cutoff time to ensure you have ample time to advertise your spaces to businesses outside of the church.
Determine the necessary rental charges for your booth's by calling a local craft fair or flea market and inquiring about their rental charges. Break their rental charges down into a price per square foot per day and charge within this range for your spaces. For example, if a local market charges $70 for a 10 by 10-ft space per week, it breaks down to $10 per day for the space or to 10-cents per square foot per day.
Advertise your bazaar booth prices in a local newspaper. Specify bazaar dates, rental charges and any rules established regarding materials banned from the sale's booths. Specify whether vendors must provide their own tables or the church will provide them.