Hannah’s school cake and bis­cuit bake

Exhibited by
Maxine Delahunty.
June 10, 2011
Medium of Communication
Face to face
Target Audience
Individuals, single gift
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

Emboldened by the success of her first fundraising direct mail appeal (Hannah’s innovative direct mail appeal), talented nine-year old fundraiser Hannah is this time raising money for her school’s funds by baking cakes. Cunningly, she then gets her father to sell her quality produce to his work colleagues. Sales are booming, perhaps because she knows that, as dad is one of the bosses at his firm, so the poor employees have little choice. But Hannah’s baking is delicious and buyers are queuing up for more. Sound fundraising best practice we feel, Hannah. Well done.

Creator / originator

Hannah. Her idea, creativity, drive and enthusiasm. As the photos show she’s just nine years old, but keeps a tidy kitchen.

Summary / objectives

To raise money for Hannah’s school. The school needs funds for rebuilding work and to replace a temporary classroom.


This tale is strikingly similar to the parable of the talents, the biblical account in which a traveller gives his three servants a sum of money each to do with as they see fit – they can either invest it, bury it, or squander it. In the instance of Hannah’s biscuit bake there’s a generally happier ending though. The only gnashing of teeth is when people are eating Hannah’s products.

Hannah’s school gave each child £3 to invest. Hannah bought cake and biscuit making ingredients with it and has been baking ever since. She cooks in the evenings for sale the next day. However, she has guitar lessons and climbing on a Monday evening so if there is a Tuesday cake sale the cooking for it will be done on the preceding Sunday. Deadlines, Hannah has learned, must be met.

Her father has sold her produce at work and she has sold them to family and friends. Even a short time after starting she had made over £50 profit and has reinvested some of the funds along the way.
A couple of aspects add weight to the story:

  • Market research. Hannah’s dad asked his colleagues what kind of cakes and biscuits they wanted (no hint of coercion there then) and then she made them, virtually to order.
  • Market research is not as valuable as testing. People told Hannah’s dad they prefer chocolate cornflake nests, but these were the last to sell out. (That said, everything Hannah bakes sells out pretty quickly.)
  • Listening to consumer feedback. One of Hannah’s early customers suggested she should make ginger biscuits dipped in chocolate. These have proved a top seller.
  • The school sets no targets and doesn’t compare results. They want everyone who raises money to feel they’ve done well.
  • Significantly Hannah’s father had no idea of why her school needed the money – he was just helping his daughter. This shows beyond doubt the difference between traditional direct request fundraising and fundraising where there’s a family or friend link.
  • To keep track of her fundraising results Hannah’s dad has taught her how to use Excel. You’re never too young to learn how to keep good records.

Special characteristics

Ginger biscuits dipped in chocolate. How special is that?

Influence / impact

Makes people happy (as fundraising at its best should do).


See above. This is a fundraiser who listens to her donors and delivers real value.


Only the initial £3.00 outlay from the school. Otherwise, nothing, because reinvested profits (or Hannah’s mother) pay for everything else.


£50 raised, and growing.


Imaginative, responsive, low-cost, popular, effective and successful. Isn’t that what SOFII should be showcasing? There are also several useful lessons to be found in Hannah’s approach, not least that it’s quite possible to encourage a very positive attitude to fundraising in very young people.

Other relevant information

Brothers Thomas and Jack are encouraged to help with things such as tidying up, by the reward of getting to lick the spoon. In fundraising, incentives work.

All smiles in the kitchen as Hannah’s fundraising takes the biscuit. Of course there’s no pressure upon Hannah's father’s colleagues, who are only too happy to buy everything Hannah can produce. And Thomas and Jack get to lick the spoon, so everyone’s a winner.
Hannah’s school will now be able to withstand the elements, come what may.