Fundraising Cookbooks - They Have Been Around For Decades and Still Going Strong

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Fundraising ideas abound. Thank goodness they do, because raising money for good causes, charities and organizations is a large part of being a human being. We, as a species, are naturally generous and giving. Even though we possess that benevolent and compassionate trait, we don't just throw our charitable donations around wildly. We are also in the midst of an economic downturn. That makes fundraising an even more challenging task.

I have a friend who is on the board of directors for a youth home that takes care of abused and homeless young adults. He is also a very successful businessman and owns several companies. He knows people, and he knows money. They rely heavily on charitable donations to keep the youth home open. They have large dinner parties and auction off valuable items that have been donated, to include a new car each year. He explained that people will give a certain amount of money simply for the cause, but if they receive something of value in return they will open up their wallets much wider. It is just human nature.

A New Car! Naaaaaaah.

C'mon…most of us don't have new cars to give away in order to raise money. We generally do it a dollar or two at a time, but we can still offer something of value in order to increase the donations.

What Can We Do?

I suggest creating a family style cookbook that contains the best recipes from the finest cooks in your club or community. That fundraising idea has been helping people successfully raise money for decades. One on-line publisher has been doing it since 1947! The process isn't difficult, and it doesn't require the amount of labor other fundraisers often need. This one is good for people of all ages to be involved in. You don't have to be young and spry like you would if you were holding a charitable car wash or pancake feed.

Once you find a reputable on-line cookbook publisher (just do a Google search for "cookbook publisher" and you will find many from which to choose) you begin the process by gathering recipes. Surely everyone in your group has one or two that they will contribute. From there you contact your friends, relatives and neighbors. It doesn't take a lot of work on their part, either. If the publisher you are dealing with is worth their salt, they will have forms and/or suggestions to make it easy. You could contact the fire department or city hall and have them scrounge up some good recipes. Schools and churches are other rich sources to tap.

Designing the Cookbook.

Your publisher should allow you to select many of the options, like the style and organization of the book, the types of graphics and pictures, the dividers, the paper stock and font, and whether you want dedication pages or advertising included. If they don't let you do that, I suggest finding another publisher. This is your cookbook and it will reflect on you and your organization. It should be what you want, not merely a template with your organization's name on the cover.

Marketing and Selling.

Though not mandatory, selling advertising in a personalized family style cookbook is a good way to raise even more money. Local business are often willing to pay to have their business information included in a book that will be reference by hundreds of people on a regular basis. Unlike the electronic media, newspapers and mass mailings that are a "flash in the pan," an advertisement in your cookbook will be there for years.

Last, you must sell them to the public. Most everyone in your group will want one, as will a majority of the recipe contributors. That is a great built-in customer base, isn't it? The rest can be sold at church events, school activities, street fairs, and in local businesses who will make some counter space available to you. Toss a few in your car and when you visit friends or relatives you can take one in and see if they are interested. As I said at first, people are naturally generous…so don't feel like you are trying to sell something. People will appreciate your efforts even if they don't buy one.

So, find that reputable on-line cookbook publisher and get started.


Andy Barber is a retired police/fire/EMS dispatcher. After a quarter of a century of "stomping the pedal," as he likes to call it, he took an early retirement and became a freelance writer. Currently he is working for Cookbook Publishers, a company that has been helping people and organizations raise money since 1947. When Andy isn't writing, he spends time on his eastern Kansas farm with his wife and the 2 younger of their 3 sons. Andy also has a love for Harley Davidson motorcycles. He regularly criss-crosses the USA on his bike to meet with friends and see this beautiful country. Cookbook Publishers has been helping people with fundraisers for years, so check them out and see what they can do for you.

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