Southern Highlands brokerage Wilson Financial hosted a virtual bake off in their local community, inviting aspiring home bakers to put their best recipes to the test.
Founder Elizabeth Wilson says the change to Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea made her determined to find a creative solution to ensure that money could still be raised.
“We didn’t want to accept that [Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea going virtual] means we shouldn’t fundraise – it means it becomes more important to fundraise,” she says.
Elizabeth and her team at Wilson Financial set out organising a virtual morning tea that could be enjoyed from home. To make it engaging and fun, they came up with an idea of a bake off.
“It came quite naturally to me that if you were going to have your morning tea in lockdown at home, you’d have to bake, so let’s make that into a competition,” Elizabeth says.
“As a mum of three school-aged children, I also thought if parents were too stressed, they could get their kids involved as an educational element and bring some joy back into an otherwise stressful world for the kiddies.
Elizabeth recruited a popular local patisserie, Gumnut Patisserie, to judge the entries and give the competition a “tangible edge”.
First bake-off a success
The Southern Highlands Biggest Bake Off received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community.
Elizabeth says she was amazed by the children’s entries.
“Children have this beautiful way of looking at the world and exploring new possibilities that adults wouldn’t normally consider,” she says. “They were clearly so proud of their creations. Additionally, the adults were impressive in how competitive they were.
“Overall, the creativity was the most surprising and overwhelming element that we had not considered. I’m married to a chef, so perhaps I didn’t realise how talented the general public was.”
The event is now an annual tradition, with Wilson Financial hosting a second Southern Highlands Biggest Bake Off this month.
Aspiring bakers can showcase their baking skills which will once again be judged by Gumnut Patisserie. Locals can also buy raffle tickets to go into the draw to win prizes.
Elizabeth’s tips for hosting a virtual morning tea
Collaborate with a team: Elizabeth says her team at Wilson Financial helped brainstorm ideas and get things off the ground. “Honestly, they did the grunt work on it, and I would not have had the capacity to make it function without them,” she says.
Promote the event on Facebook: “Facebook is free, and you can create either an event or a group which is easy to share and join online,” Elizabeth says. “Be prepared to assist older generations via phone or face to face, however, to ensure you are inclusive.”
Get support from locals: “We are not shy of asking locals to support with the prizes,” Elizabeth says. “We rely on any relationships we know and will walk the streets and doorknock businesses to supply prizes. If it’s a professional business such as accountants and solicitors, ask them to donate a bottle of wine or liquor or a sweets hamper to contribute.”
Recognise your sponsors: Give sponsors the credit they deserve for their philanthropy.
Get the word out there: Elizabeth suggests reaching out to local press and online communities to promote your event.
Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is on Thursday, May 27. You’re invited to host a morning tea your way to raise funds for people impacted by cancer.