I have been involved in a number of cookbook fundraisers and all of them have taken a lot of hard work to get off the ground. However, they’ve all been extremely successful.
I personally think that cookbooks are no-fail fundraising projects, because 50% of the population (women) love cookbooks. And they especially love cookbooks that are home-grown, meaning that they contain favorite and time-tested recipes that have been passed down through several generations. Recipes from the private collections of families are always the very best.
Frankly, cookbooks sell themselves, so they’re so much better than calendars, candy bars, gift wrap or anything else as fundraisers.
One of my favorite cookbook fundraisers was for the library of a school that I worked at. We always had pot luck luncheons at the school, so it was a no-brainer to put together a cookbook. The library personnel knew about books and how to get things organized so they took over the collating and categorization of the recipes. Once we put out a call for recipes, we were inundated with replies, so our six-month project was shortened to two months, and we were ready to go to press way before our deadline (which was great).It was a seamless project from concept to completion.
We took orders and had about 600 pre-sold. We knew that it was going to be ready before Christmas, so we decided to print extra copies — 2,000, to be exact. There was great excitement when the shipment arrived, and we planned a pot luck luncheon to distribute the copies (with meals made from the cookbook, of course). The response was overwhelming. By Christmas, we had sold over 1,000 copies. The rest of them were sold gradually over the course of the next six months.
I don’t remember how much we made, but it was a significant chunk of change that made the whole project worthwhile.I would recommend a cookbook as a fundraiser over almost anything else. It’s a solid, useful product.
I personally buy a lot of cookbooks that are sold through church groups and other organizations, since they contain the best recipes. It’s a fun project to work on, and the availability of computerized templates makes putting it together a breeze.