The Cookbook Fundraiser

The rewarding and profitable cookbook fundraiser is a perfect fit for schools, churches and most other nonprofit organizations!

In fact, if your organization is a school or church I would definitely recommend you give the cookbook fundraiser a try...

If done properly, it'll be worth every bit of effort!

Essentially you will raise funds through the sales of your cookbook. Obviously the more sales you make, the more funds you will raise...

There is loads of funds to be raised with the Cookbook Fundraiser. Learn how to make it successful and profitable.  (Photo by Debra Roby / Flickr)

But you'll also be able to raise funds by holding a Taste Test Fundraiser to test all the recipes proposed for your cookbook. Check it out!

Running a cookbook fundraiser is relatively simple but it will take quite a bit of organising to get right. Here's how...

Decide On Design & Production:

As Stephen R Covey says, "Begin with the end in mind."

Before you begin, decide on the general design and type of production for your cookbook fundraiser. Will it be...

  • A basic cookbook – A4 printed pages all done at home and bound together in the best way that you can. Which can still come out looking pretty decent. Or...
  • Professionally done – By using a local or national publisher to print a professional looking cookbook.

I would personally recommend going with a professionally done cookbook. It will be so much more beneficial to you and a basic cookbook might just come out looking very trashy and untidy...

You will also sell many more books with a professional look!

Of course, it totally depends on you though and also on the capital you will have to spend on the project. With a professionally done cookbook you will probably have to pay upfront for the books you order to be printed.

Pre-Release Sales:

Luckily there is a way around lacking the upfront capitol, by having a pre-release sale.

Advertise and let people buy the book before it has been published.

That way you can raise enough capital to order a large amount of your fundraising cookbooks.

Two books I'd recommend you read that will help you with the whole process are Ron Douglas's Write A Cookbook, and Cookbook Secrets.


Finding a company to publish for you shouldn't be too difficult.

An American publisher that you could use that helps you publish charity cookbooks is Family Cookbooks. There fundraising program is excellent.

Another option to consider would be the

With both of these companies you can completely personalize your cookbook... covers, dividers, and there's no extra cost for photos.

You may want to shop around a bit to try find the best deal (you'll obviously have to if you're non-US based) and you may consider looking into local publishers. Just make sure that they'll provide good enough quality before you use them...

If not, then I'd suggest you just stick with the known and tested Family Cookbooks!

And onto the next step...

Find Your Recipes:

This is the fun part and will be quite a nice relationship builder with your supporters.

Firstly you should decide on a theme for your cookbook fundraiser. You have so much to choose from...

Some themes could be:

  • Tasty desserts,
  • Quick recipes for people on the go,
  • Healthy food for sports people,
  • The best barbecue (braai) recipes.
  • The list goes on and on.

Be creative and find the best fit for your target customers!

You will then send out a request to your supporters to submit in their favourite recipe/s that fit your cookbook's theme.

They can do this by sending in a written piece of paper or you could provide a form on your website that they could fill out.

Loads of funds to be raised with a Cookbook Fundraiser. (Photo by Natalie / Flickr)

Make sure they submit their own personal information and the story behind them and their recipe. This info should be included with the recipe in the final production.

(Make sure you also include a clear guide and table of contents at the beginning of the book, and an index at the back.)

Once you have all your recipes in you should review them and decide on which ones will actually make the final book.

This is the perfect time to hold the next step...

Hold A Taste Test Fundraiser:

You should definitely hold a taste test fundraiser to get feedback on all the different recipes and to help you decide on which recipes to use for your cookbook fundraiser.

Check out the Taste Test page to find out more!

And Finally, Publish And Sell:

You should think carefully about how many books you think you will sell and then publish around that amount.

If the sales go well you can obviously then still order more cookbooks... But do remember that it will usually be cheaper per book with a larger number of books ordered.

So you'll make less profit on two separate small orders than you will on one large order!


When it comes to the selling of the books you will already have a great sales team... All your recipe contributors!

They will all be very willing to sell to their friends and family, especially because one of their own recipes is in the book. What great encouragement and incentive!

You should have your cookbook on sale at all your events (including your Taste Test Fundraiser) and definitely set up a way for people to order it off your website.

I'd recommend you use PayPal to take your online payments.

Consider also selling it through an online auction fundraiser.

If the book is good enough you might be able to get a local bookstore to put it on sale or even manage to get a national deal with a larger store...

Do not limit yourself and definitely have a try with this!

Promoting & Advertising:

  • Get local newspapers and radio stations to review it.
  • Advertise on your website and through your newsletters. Also look for other forums and websites where you could advertise your cookbook fundraiser.
  • Obviously through your Social Media.
  • Use Posters and fliers.
  • Newsgroups and classified adverts. (Always try and get your advertising done for free... Emphasize the point that you are worthwhile charitable cause!)
  • Be creative and imaginative, and come up with your own ideas for advertising your cookbook! There are many different ways...

But whatever you do just make sure that you sell as many books as you possibly can. Remember the more sales you make, the more funds you'll raise!

Read more great ideas on promoting a fundraiser here.

I wish you the best of luck with your Cookbook Fundraiser!

Ready To Get Started?

Then setup your Cookbook Fundraiser here.

And if you haven't already... Setup your FREE online Donation / Fundraising page here.

Recommended Fundraising Ideas:

Cookie Dough & Fundraising Cookies

Pizza Cards

Where are you?

› Cookbooks

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