How to Create a Profitable Fundraising Cookbook
Cookbooks are a fun and profitable fundraising project for churches, schools, hospitals and community
organizations. Creating an attractive cookbook with easy-to-follow recipes is a great way to get all of the
members of your group to participate in a fundraising activity. From contributing recipes designing the
cover artwork, there is an interesting job for everyone.
The first step is to create a committee with an editor as the head of the committee. The committee will
determine the theme of cookbook. Common themes include regional recipes, one-dish meals, or the
cookbook may be based around one common ingredient that is prominent in your area. Themes can
also complement your organizations mission, for example a hospital could create a cookbook featuring
low fat recipes. The committee then needs to create a time line for meeting goals from recipe collection
to getting the cookbook to the printer. The editor should be the person that has the final say on the
finished project; this would include approving the final edition for printing.
Choosing a printing method and a company to print your cookbook will determine the final price that you
will need to charge for each cookbook. Cookbooks should sell for a minimum of at least twice the printing
cost per book. Your printing budget should be established at this point, as it will affect the cookbooks
overall design and size. Cookbooks can be designed and printed locally or online. Some organizations
chose to create a completely homemade book. An online search can provide free clip art and templates
to use in the creation of your cookbook.
Cookbook options from professional printers include soft cover spiral bound cookbooks, hardcover
cookbooks and even 3 ring binder cookbooks. The larger your initial order, the lower the cost is per
cookbook printed. A soft cover spiral bound cookbook of about 100 double-sided pages is usually the
most economical and can start at about $6.00 per book depending on your local area. Extras like a full
color or plastic laminated cover can add significantly to the final cost. You will usually be required to order
a minimum number of cookbooks for your initial printing. Once you determine the number of recipes that
you will include in your fundraising cookbook, it is time to start asking for contributions.
Recipe collection is a task that can be delegated to every member of your organization. Recipes need to
be obtained in an organized manner to keep the project flowing smoothly. Have a computer-literate
committee member create a recipe collection form along with a letter explaining your fundraising project.
The recipe collection form should include a list of common abbreviations so all the recipes will be
uniform. The ingredient list on the recipe collection form should have standard abbreviations, while the
entire word should be spelled out in the directions. Include a sample recipe for reference.
Your letter asking for recipes should clearly state that this is a fundraising cookbook and what particular
project your organization is raising the funds for. Include a date that the recipes must be return by, if they
are to be considered for inclusion.. Putting each contributor’s name with his or her recipe will practically
guarantee at least one sale from each contributor. You can use your recipe collection letter to pre-sell
cookbooks by offering to reserve copies, as they are sure to sell out quickly.
Once the recipes are collected, the real work can begin. Recipes need to be proofread and typed in a
uniform manner whether you are submitting a paper file or a computer file. Have several people
proofread if possible. Mistakes can be costly to correct once the cookbook has been submitted to the
printer. The editor should set the criteria for eliminating recipes that are duplicates of each other and
recipes that are not practical or easy-to-follow. No one wants to purchase a cookbook that has recipes
that require ingredients that are impossible to obtain in your area.
Organize your recipes into chapters that fit into your overall theme. Additional pages to your cookbook
should be created at this time. Additional pages can include a title page, a page giving thanks to
contributors, cooking tips, dividers or photographs. Be sure to include a page for people to order more
cookbooks for their friends as well.
An artistic member of your organization can be utilized to design a personalized cover for your cookbook.
High-resolution photographs and multi-color graphics will increase your printing costs and reduce your
profit margin. On the flip side, cookbooks with attractive covers sell much better as they are perceived to
be a better value. A one-color cover with black printing and a line drawing is an economical choice that
looks pleasing to the eye. Your printing company may have stock drawings or prints that can be used
instead of creating your own art.
By now your cookbook should be ready to be printed and it's time to begin promoting your fundraising
cookbook to the public. Promotional materials allow your organization to maximize your fundraising
efforts, so be creative. Many printers offer free posters to promote your cookbook if you ask for them. If
not, have a computer literate committee member design some and post on free bulletin boards,
especially at grocery stores. Use gift certificates and advance sales coupons to generate money upfront
to help offset the printing costs.
Send your local newspaper a press release highlighting your fundraising effort and include information on
how to order a cookbook. Negotiate with local stores to sell your cookbook for a small percentage of the
profit on each book. Use flea markets and yard sales as a low cost way to promote your fundraising
cookbook. Set up an attractive display and offer information on the project that you are raising funds for.
When cookbooks are used as a fundraising tool to support a worthwhile project, those who purchase the
cookbooks will not only receive an excellent cookbook, but a wonderful reminder of the project or the
organization that the donation supported.
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