We are Dani Clark and Trevor Lutz, and together we are Ninja Cupcakes.
We both love baking and cooking and Dani was making cupcakes pretty much every week, and since we always had more than we'd ever eat, we'd give them away to friends, family, co-workers, etc.
Eventually people were requesting more and more every week and we had to start figuring out a way to decide who should get the free cupcakes. So we started a webpage (ninjacupcakes.com) and told our friends, and friends of friends, to enter to get free cupcakes each week by telling us why they deserved them.
At first we just picked a winner, but then we were getting more and more entries so we started a Facebook page where we could post the entries and people could vote on who was the most deserving...and it just grew from there. Now we are giving away cupcakes a few times a week locally and at least once a week we ship to a winner anywhere in the country. We have had some amazing entries. We've heard tales of heartbreak and sorrow, but also of hope and love and kindness. It's been incredible.
And the responses we get back from the people we send the cupcakes to has been equally incredible. It may be only a small gesture, but the recipients have been touched that someone would think of them or would respond to their story. And that has touched us as well. We may not be saving the world, but we are trying to make it a sweeter, kinder and better place to live. We have made and given away over 1000 cupcakes so far!
It's been so rewarding and the entries are getting better and better each week. The response has been amazing and now we're getting requests to BUY our cupcakes on a daily basis. We're only just now beginning to sell the cupcakes, but that is simply a means to an end. Selling some cupcakes just means we can give away even MORE cupcakes!
We recently partnered with the Seattle Youth Basketball Foundation to help them with their fundraising efforts. We'll be making a THOUSAND cupcakes for them to sell at their annual Shoot-a-thon fundraiser on September 15th. We're so excited to be a part of that great cause and we're looking forward to doing more events for charity and community groups, both in the Pacific Northwest and all over the country! If you know of a great charity or community group that would like to partner with us, please let us know!
Thanks to everyone that has helped us to this point.
What We Need & What You Get
We'd like your help in expanding our mission and to fund us for one year. Our goal is to be able to bake and give away cupcakes to truly deserving individuals and causes. This might be a simple gift of free cupcakes to someone who needs a little pick-me-up, or it might be a major fundraiser where we donate cupcakes that get sold to support a great group or event. We want to use the power of Facebook and our website to help us find, select and support some amazing people, groups and causes.
In order to expand our operations we need to move to a commercial kitchen space. We have one lined up, but our costs there are about $500 a month, or $6000 for the year. We also have some heavier duty equipment to purchase (pans, tools, mixers, etc.) along with our supplies, ingredients, packaging and some other overhead related to simply baking, decorating, storing and packing. We figure that to be about $1000 a month. We also ship our cupcakes to whomever gets the most likes on Facebook each week, and we'd like to expand that to twice a week. But we have to ship the cupcakes via Overnight delivery in order for them to arrive in pristine condition, and that costs us between $30 - $50 per shipment. At twice a week, average of $40 per shipment, that comes out to about $4000 for the year.
We also want to reach out to others via the Internet to encourage them to be their own Cupcake Ninjas! We will have tutorials and guides on everything from decorating a single cupcake, to running a multi-pronged fundraising effort using cupcakes as the vehicle. We will also focus on the causes, groups and individuals who are being the most helped by your funding via Ninja Cupcakes. In order for us to produce that high-quality multi-media content we need some time, effort, expertise and help. We have partnered with professional photographers, videographers and writers to help us share the joy and experience that is Ninja Cupcakes. They are giving us greatly discounted rates on their services, but our base costs are still going to run about $1000 a month to be able to produce the kinds of pieces that really show the impact that your donations are making in the lives of others, via cupcakes and the support and love of others.
Paying for the perks that we are offering takes up another $15,000 to $20,000. Our other various costs come to $10,000.
So, if we add all that up, we end up needing about $55,000 for us to be able to do this for a year, at which point we hope to be self-sustaining via other revenue streams (merchandise sales, online advertising revenue, etc.) so we can simply continue to raise funds for good causes (as chosen by you) and make and give away cupcakes to people who really need them.
In return for your support, we are offering recipe cards, t-shirts, aprons, cupcake party packs, an amazing cookbook/storybook that highlights all the winners this year along the cupcakes they received, full fundraiser catering, and a whole lot more. Please check the perks for more details.
But more importantly, you'll get the satisfaction in knowing that you helped make the world a sweeter, better place to live. And we'll give you a shout out on our Facebook page and honorary Ninja status on our website! You'll be famous! ;)
Your donation will help real people in real ways. We always want to be able to find and select individuals that could use half a dozen free cupcakes to brighten their day, or to reward a good deed.
Some of the people that we've already been able to impact with our gift of free cupcakes have had this to say:
"So thank you, dear Ninjas, for helping me to remember a little bit of who I am, who I used to be, and who I can be again, and that uplifting others and helping others is important to me and a part of who I am. Who know a simple delivery of a cupcake could be so powerful. We all need some sweetness in our lives. There is so much ugliness and pain and heartache. You have touched my heart...and healed it a little. So KAPOW. High five. Bless you. I will cheer for you every step of the way. You never know who you are touching and healing and you have brought some joy my way.Kindness is powerful...and catching." - Sara N.
"YOU are super amazing. I can never give enough love to you all, or explain just how much you have made my corner of the world a better place!!! Thank you, for all the ninja love." - Michelle K.
"I entered your contest, but I personally want to tell you that what you do is absolutely amazing! Sending free cupcakes to people for the single purpose of bringing them joy! It is so very wonderfully heartwarming to KNOW that there ARE still GOOD & DECENT people in this world who just want to share love in their own personal way.... even through Yummilicious cupcakes. I have shared your page and I just wanted to say thank you. For making others smile, in a world full of tragedies, disrespect, hatefulness for many stupid reasons, greed and now, fear.... I thank you!!!" - Ronda N
So, we'll always want to send out free cupcakes to individuals who need or deserve them. But our main focus going forward is to expand how cupcakes can help others. We see them as vehicles for helping real people with real problems. We can turn cupcakes into money to help raise funds for worthy groups and charities.
Even if we don't get our full funding, we'll simply keep making cupcakes for as long as we can with the resources we have available. Your donation will really help people, no matter what!
Other Ways You Can Help
Even if you can't donate, there are a lot of other ways you can help our cause! Come like our page on Facebook! Nominate someone or some group to get free cupcakes. Vote for winners each week. Be your own Ninja and bake or make something for someone who deserves it in your town! Send us recipes and ideas. Get involved! Volunteer! BE NINJA!
Make sure you tell all your friends and family (and complete strangers!) about us and our mission: