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  • Make Money, Leave a Legacy—Have a Cookbook Fundraiser!

A cookbook fundraiser can be an interesting, profitable way to raise money for your group; and the added benefit is that you get to create a product that promotes pride and community, while leaving a lasting legacy!

Why a cookbook fundraiser?

• This kind of fundraiser becomes a “community” group project that brings everyone together

• It bring many influences together, and can help promote cultural diversity

• Cookbooks require no special storage conditions (as food products do) and do not expire, so stock can be kept and sold at many events

• Additional cookbooks can be printed as supplies dwindle

• Cookbooks serve as a historical record of your group, its membership, and its diversity and community

• Cookbook fundraisers net significant profits (with per-book profits starting around $5.00)

• Group members and volunteers can participate without having to spend money (making this a fundraiser for all income levels!)


Cookbook fundraiser


Create custom cookbooks with Living Cookbook 2013 software, or Home Cookin: Easy to Use Software with a Recipe Database, Grocery Manager, and Meal Planning Calendar (Windows).


So what’s the downside? There is quite a bit of organizational work to be done, but overall it is comparable to that of many fundraisers. Also, a cookbook fundraiser generally requires an up-front expenditure for either printing supplies or wholesale purchase from a fundraising company, or local printer and that cost can be difficult for cash-poor groups to manage. The other disadvantage is that there is no guarantee the cookbook will sell at the desired quantity, so there is the potential for loss or low profits – unless you use an on-demand printing service (see below).

Options for cookbook Fundraisers:


1) Use an online cookbook fundraiser company

Online cookbook fundraiser companies offer support, online resources, programs and downloads. Basically, your group collects the recipes, turns them over to the company, and they do the rest. Some provide software that you use to enter recipes and then the company will organize and print the cookbook. Additionally, some companies offer both services (you do the typing and entry or they will), but also offer a discount if your group does the entry work.

Some cookbook fundraiser services also give you the choice of either using only your own recipes or choosing from a selection of stock recipes to add to your cookbook.


2) Use cookbook fundraiser software and you print the book yourself

Providers of cookbook fundraiser software offer a program similar to that used by the online companies with entry fields that automatically format recipes; but you do not have to be online to use it (similarly, some online programs can be downloaded for use offline and then the data can be uploaded later). After the information is entered and proofed, your group handles the printing and binding.

The downside to a software cookbook fundraiser is that your group is responsible for all the work, and the cost of printing, ink, papers, and binders may be higher than ordering through a dedicated cookbook fundraiser company. The upside, though is that there is never a minimum order because you control the process.


3) Use an on-demand book printing service

If your group has access to someone with graphic design experience and software programs, you might want to try an on-demand book printing service. Once you upload your book files to the service’s site, you can then link to your book from your group’s website and your supporters can order directly online, or you can order any amount of books yourself to sell at any of your fundraising events.

There is no downside here if you have someone who can format the pages and upload them to the site. You can buy as many books as you like whenever you like, and you can also easily sell single copies through your website.


4) Collect and organize recipes and hire a local printer to make the books

Requirements for hiring a printer will depend on the printer your group chooses. Be sure to get samples of other books they’ve printed and decide together with the members of your group if quality and pricing are acceptable for your project.

A cookbook fundraiser is a fun community project that, with good organization and a strong sales-effort, can turn in some very good profits while providing a keepsake for group supporters. It’s a great way to create a lasting impression of your fundraising organization.

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