Cookbook Fundraising

Cook Book Recipe Fund Raiser Ideas and Tips

roast turkey
Is your church or religious group filled with wonderful cooks and bakers? Cookbook fundraising has become a popular choice in the past few decades for organizations looking to run a fun campaign and make a good profit through both direct sales and advertising. Whether you're looking for a fundraising company with which to work, already working with a company, or doing it all yourself, the following tips will guide you through the most important things to take into consideration when planning a cookbook fundraiser.

Cookbook Fundraising Committee
One of the most important steps for holding a successful fundraiser is putting together a committee to help you with the various aspects of planning a cookbook sale drive. Your committee will assist you in:
  • Setting a fundraising goal.
  • Setting a cookbook delivery date.
  • Gathering recipes.
  • Organizing recipes.
  • Designing your cookbook.
  • Selling advertisements.

Though it's possible for one person to do all of these jobs, it's often much easier and more efficient to have different people working on different aspects of your fundraising project. That way, all of the tasks listed above can be worked on simultaneously, resulting in your church raising moneys more quickly. If you choose to work with a committee, one member (probably you) should be the chairperson, who will coordinate the other volunteers and have the ability to make final decisions if sticking points arise.

Gathering and Organizing Cookbook Recipes
Gathering recipes can start within your congregation, but don't stop there -- the more recipes from different community members, civic leaders, relatives, local celebrities, friends, and coworkers you can gather, the more profitable your fundraiser will be. More recipes allows you to charge more for your collection, and also expands your base of people who will want to buy a copy, as most contributors will buy at least one for themselves or as a gift.

The most important part of gathering recipes is a recipe form -- a sheet which lists blank spaces for contact information, ingredients, cooking instructions, ideas for serving, and any other pertinent information you'd like to include in your cookbook, like personal anecdotes, where the recipe has its origins, etc. You can hand these out with fliers explaining the purpose of your cookbook fundraiser, and attach them to posters that you use to advertise your campaign. It's also possible to use these recipe forms as a part of a direct mail campaign to gather even more recipes. If you're web-savvy, think about digitizing the form and attaching it to email invitations.

As the recipe forms begin to come in, check each one for:
  • Spelling
  • Legibility
  • Questions you might have about the recipe
  • Contributors' names and contact information

Make sure that all of these are correct! There's nothing worse than having an avoidable mistake like a typo or a missing ingredient in an otherwise perfect recipe collection!
At this point, you can also begin to separate your recipes into various categories, such as:
  • Appetizers
  • Soups
  • Beverages
  • Vegetables
  • Breads and Rolls
  • Baked Dishes
  • Desserts
  • Other
Fundraising Cookbook Design
When thinking about your cookbook's design, imagine the sort of cookbook that you would buy or would like to receive as a gift. If you can imagine it, you can make it! Consider design options like:
  • Cover and Binding
  • Title - short, sweet, and memorable
  • Dividers to make it easier to find different categories and add style to your book's interior
  • Ink Color
  • Paper Stock
  • Title Page
  • Thanks and Appreciation
  • Picture Page
  • Committee/Officers Page

Advertising in Fundraising Cookbooks
One of the great things about a cookbook fundraiser is your ability to sell advertising space in your publication. Many churches make enough from selling advertising to completely offset their printing costs, resulting in pure profit from each sale. Though the prices you charge for advertising space are your decision, typical profits range from $40 to $100 per page.

When you approach potential advertisers, make the benefits of advertising in your cookbook clear -- you've got lots of recipes, so many different people will see their ads, and, as people keep cookbooks for many years, their ads will also be seen for years to come.

Whether you choose to print yourself with a home publishing program or work with a professional company to create your cookbook, by keeping the ideas listed above in mind your church's fundraiser will ultimately run more smoothly and be more profitable. As a final celebration for your drive, think about holding a bake sale or a banquet in which some of the cookbook's marquis recipes will be served. These are often exciting and enjoyable outings, and can be another great source of income for your chosen cause.

Written by: Bob Robertson