Cookbook Fundraising for Fun and Profit

Raising money by designing and selling cookbooks used to be extremely popular, and still raises a good deal of money for many non-profits, particularly schools and churches. The basic idea behind cookbook fundraising is that your organization pulls together 100-1000 recipes written by your members, donors, volunteers and other supporter, and then works with a cookbook publishing company to cheaply print the books. Your team then sells the books to earn money for your organization.

Here’s how to get the most out of your cookbook campaign:

1. Put Together a Cookbook Committee

Cookbook fundraising is a time intensive tactic. You will need to find volunteers to solicit recipes, to compile and layout the book, and to sell the book once it is printed.

2. Shop Around

There are a number of well-regarded cookbook fundraising publishers that offer packages to help non-profits operate this type of campaign. Shop around, as each offers different levels of support, marketing materials and pricing schemes.

3. Maximize Revenue

As your team is gathering recipes from your supporters, try soliciting advertisers or sponsors for your book. Having sponsors who place ads in your book can be a great way to greatly increase the return from your campaign. Also, try to arrange pre-sales not only to your members and donors, but also in bulk to local boosters, possibly in return for a small ad in the book. For example, you may be able to get your local chamber of commerce to purchase a dozen, or a get local independent store to stock them for sale in your community.

4. Sell Far and Wide

As you begin sales of your cookbooks, thing big! Who might be interested in purchasing a book? For example, if you are fundraising for a school, don’t limit yourself to selling only to parents. Remember that grandparents, aunts and uncles, and neighbors may also want to buy. So might local store owners, school alumni, and the town council. Think big!

5. Thank Everyone Involved

As we said at the outset, cookbook fundraising is a very time-intensive fundraising method, and will require lots of volunteer time to be successful. When your campaign is over, be sure to thank everyone involved and solicit their feedback to use on future fundraising efforts.

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Like great sales organizations, great development operations need a constant stream of prospects… individuals, companies, and foundations that are, or are likely to be, interested...
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