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Fundraising Cookbook - a recipe for success



Fundraising cookbooks involve more work than most other fundraising products , but putting a cookbook together can be fun, rewarding and profitable. A love of cookery isn't as important as design flair, good negotiating skills and help from your friends when it comes to putting together a fundraising cookbook. Here we present some tips for creating an excellent cookbook.

How many recipes?


Early on in the process, you will need to decide how many recipes you would like to include in your cookery book. Usually, the fewer recipes in your book, the lower the publishing costs will be. Most major fundraising cookbook publishers have "under 150 recipes" as the lowest category in their price list. In any case, unless you are fundraising on a large scale, you may not have enough contributors to fill a fundraising cookbook with more than 150 recipes. The best advice for smaller fundraisers is to keep the number of recipes per cookbook below 150.

How many books?

You will need to work out costs and prices. In most cases, the more fundraising cookbooks you order, the lower the cost per book. However, saving a dollar on each book is false economy if you order more books than you can sell, so be realistic when placing your order. You should also work out how much you will charge for each book when you sell it. Too little, and you are failing to maximize your profits; too much, and you will not sell enough books. A rough guide is to sell each book for two and a half times what it cost you to produce it.

Choosing a publisher

Most companies charge between $2.50 and $4.35 per book for 200 books that each contain 150 recipes or fewer. The higher prices in that range usually apply to orders of fewer than 200 books. Once you've narrowed your choice down to a few companies offering similar prices, you need to ask about the extras that will make it a better deal for you. For example, ask if there is a choice of designs for your cookbook cover, or if you can design your own and have them use it at no extra cost. It will usually cost less if you can deliver your cookbook as a print-ready file. If someone involved in the cookbook project is at school, this could make an excellent project for desk-top publishing class.

Some companies allow you to use "fillers" between the recipes: quotes, short poems or prayers to lend a personal touch.

You should also ask about the turnaround time; how long will it be between your approval of the final proofs and delivery of the cookbooks? Some companies take as long as eight weeks for typesetting and printing, and you should be aware of this when you plan your fundraiser.

Hidden costs

A company may agree to publish your fundraising cookbook for what seems like an excellent price, but beware of hidden costs. You should ask the publisher:

  • Is shipping free, or is there an extra charge for it?
  • How much does it cost to see proofs?
  • How much does it cost to make last-minute changes?

Compiling the recipes
The best way of writing a fundraising cookbook is to get people to write it for you. Ask as many people as possible to contribute recipes. Ask parents at your local school to write down their favorite family recipes, and don't forget to get the kids to join in too. Many publishers of fundraising cookbooks will give you a free set of recipe submission forms. These forms usually provide a structured way of writing down a recipe. However, if people wish to submit recipes by e-mail, let them do this, as it will mean less typing for you.

You should also think about a theme for your recipe book. Is it going to focus on local specialities, for example? Also try to match the recipes to the reason you're raising money. For example, if you're raising money for research into heart disease, it would be inappropriate to include food that is laden with saturated fats, but it might be cute to have some heart-shaped jellies in the dessert section.