A couple of years ago our youth group for our church decided to put together a cookbook in order to sell and raise money which we could use for a future trip somewhere out of Wisconsin. As we were all in high school, cooking was not exactly a forte.

We decided to ask for recipes from those in the congregation asking for some of their favorite recipes that we would then combine into one book. We made an announcement during the service and also put up posters inside the church.

We got a lot of excitement and interest from members and were surprised to get close to 200 recipes. It was a bit of a shock and we could not wait to get started.

Our shock turned into disappointment when we began to sort them out. We had over 50 casserole recipes. I am completely serious that 1/4 of our recipes were casseroles. We spent much of our time trying to figure out which green bean casserole would be the best.

We also had trouble because we had about 50-60 desserts (including a handful of fruit cakes) and then there was only like 4 recipes that were for breakfast. There were also a couple punch/drink recipes but not enough to make solid categories.

The moral of the story is that there should be some type of regulation in your categories and what type of book you want. We ended up submitting our “own” recipes last minute to fill in the holes (as well as forcing our parents to submit some).

In the end we made a modest profit (about $400) and were able to put that towards a helping a group of us pay for plane tickets for a service project trip to South America.

In future years we developed a sign up sheet that had categories and a cap on them to help smooth things out and we kept about half of the old book so our new one would be that much better.

If you are planning to make this an annual fundraiser do not be discouraged by bumps in the road your first try. It can be fruitful but you have to put in the effort to make sure it will work for you.

Good luck!