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What Is a Cookbook Fundraiser?

C. Webb
C. Webb

A cookbook fundraiser is an event held by an organization to raise money. As an alternative to selling candy bars, wrapping paper, or fresh fruit, cookbook fundraisers produce a product that has long-lasting benefits. Members of the organization typically provide the recipes for the cookbook fundraiser. The book is then printed and bound through a fundraiser company or local print shop and returned to the organization to sell. After paying the company or printer, the remaining profits go to the organization.

Schools that hold a cookbook fundraiser often request content from students. Parents send in their children's favorite recipes to be included in the cookbook. Other groups, such as churches or civic organizations, gather recipes from their membership.

A cookbook and utensils.
A cookbook and utensils.

Some cookbook fundraisers are built around a theme. For example, a book may be filled with holiday recipes or recipes using organic foods. Organizers gather all donated recipes together and begin planning the book. Typically, the recipes are divided into sections. A general cookbook might have appetizer, entree, and dessert sections.

The cookbook layout is then sent to the printer or the fundraising company, depending on which option the group has chosen. Printing and binding are completed and the books are sent back to the organization to sell. Field experts estimate a cookbook fundraiser may raise a minimum of double what is invested in the printing costs. For each contributed recipe, an estimated three cookbooks are typically sold.

Some cookbooks are handed down from generation to generation.
Some cookbooks are handed down from generation to generation.

Selling tips for a cookbook fundraiser include making it personal and using attractive cover art. Adding a child's name next to his favorite contributed recipe helps personalize the book. Including "celebrity"-type dishes, such as the principal's favorite soup recipe, helps boost sales. Designing a cover that denotes either what is in the book or what the organization stands for gives the book a finished look.

In addition to selling the book for an agreed-upon price, selling advertisements in the book will boost revenue. Proper marketing of a cookbook fundraiser can help ensure its success. Group members sell books to family members, coworkers, and friends. Booths can be set up in front of stores and sports events. Setting up a cookbook fundraiser sale table at a local parade, with permission of the municipality, provides hundreds of potential purchasers.

Long after fundraising candy bars have been eaten and wrapping paper thrown away, the cookbook continues its usefulness. Cookbooks can be handed down through a family's generations. Holding an annual cookbook fundraiser, with a different theme each year, can create a tradition that the community will look forward to taking part in.

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    • A cookbook and utensils.
      By: Vivian Seefeld
      A cookbook and utensils.
    • Some cookbooks are handed down from generation to generation.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Some cookbooks are handed down from generation to generation.