Church Cookbooks

Church cookbooks

A recipe for fundraising success

Producing Church Cookbooks may not be one of the most novel fundraising ideas. It is however a relatively easy fundraiser to do and can be a good money-maker.

Writing a charity recipe book is surprisingly easy and straightforward and its always nice to produce something that is unique to you.

The other great thing about cookbook fundraising is that it can involve contributions from right across your congregation and the wider community. A successful church project is fantastic for morale and building a sense of belonging. Sharing special recipes for church cookbooks is a perfect way to get to know people.

And if nothing else -

The choir master's bread and butter pudding recipe
might be the best thing you've ever tasted!

Themes for your cookbook

Church cookbooks can be general or follow a specific theme.

Examples might be:

  • St Jude's Church - Great Supper Ideas
  • St Mary's - From Asparagus to Zucchini.
  • The A to Z of Super Soups
  • Better Barbecues the St Barnabas Way
  • Top Kid's Treats with Maia Lane Sunday School
  • St George's School for Choristers- The Best Old School Recipes
  • Perfect Puddings with St Patricks
  • Sing For Your Supper. -Soul Food Recipes from Maia Lane Gospel Choir

You can see that there are lots of possibilities. Come up with one that will suit your situation.

Don't forget the best cookbook fundraising ideas should be fun. Your charity cookbook needs to stand out to capture the imagination of both contributors and potential purchasers.

There are all sorts of interesting little quirks you may be able to come up with. How about:

  • Match a recipe to certain church hymns - All Things Bright and Beautiful- a colourful summer salad recipe, Morning Has Broken - a classic hot breakfast dish, In the Bleak Midwinter - a warming hearty stew etc.
  • Match a recipe to certain saints - Each page could have a little biography of the saint followed by a nice recipe. - Simply change the name of a recipe to fit - St Peter's Pudding, St Thomas' Tart, St Stephen's Stew etc
  • Youngest to Oldest - Start your church cookbook with a recipe from the youngest member of your congregation, then some contributions from other children, teenage favourites, young free and single, family dishes, older classics and end with a contribution from the oldest member of your church.

Compiling the cookbook

Producing a church cookbook

To put together a church cookbook it is usual to have one or two people in over all charge to co-ordinate things.

Other people may then submit their own best loved family recipes. Depending on your book's theme you may like to include the name of the person whose recipe it is along with their personal story about the dish and why it is so great.

The co-ordinator is responsible for bringing the whole thing together. This will probably involve chasing people up for promised contributions and ensuring that all the recipes received are suitable and fit the brief.

The style for the book and the way it will be laid out should be carefully chosen. Recipes might be featured alphabetically or split into chapters based around particular ingredients.

Recipes should be re-written to fit a common design and layout. Do include a clear index and page guide for the cookbook. Decide on whether you will use imperial or metric (or both) measurements and stick to it.

As you re-write the recipes check that you think they will work OK. It is easy for people to miss an ingredient off a list that they then refer to later. Make sure nothing is missing. Or that all listed ingredients are actually being used.

Producing the cookbook

The final production of the book can vary from:

Very basic

A number of photo-copied sheets of A4 paper stapled together into a simple but cheap to produce booklet.

Very classy

Professionally printed on good quality paper with a glossy cover.

There are of course all sorts of options in between.

Its one of those situations where you have to do your sums. Who is the target customer? How much will they wish / be able to spend. How much will the book cost to produce?

The key to successful cookbook fundraising is getting this right.

If using external printers much of the cost will be initial set up charges. The first run of books will be at a higher cost with the subsequent cost per book dropping quite considerably.

Do get quotes from several print firms. Modern technology has made small run printing very competitive.There also are a large number of companies specializing in church cookbook publishing who will take all the headache out of designing and producing the finished book. You simply supply them with your recipes and they do all the rest. This is an easy way of getting a great looking book put together but comes at a cost. Again it is a case of "do the sums".

Selling the books

The advantage of cookbook fundraising is that when it comes to selling the book you have an established army of sales agents - your contributors and congegation. Most should be able to sell copies to families and friends.

The books can also be sold in church after a service or at any other fundraising event your church puts on or takes part in.

If the cookbooks are of sufficient quality you may be able to persuade a local bookshop to take some on a sale or return basis.

Getting your recipe book reviewed by a local paper (who might like to print some of the recipes) or local radio station may also help sales.

Another idea to generate publicity and sales is to organize a competition whereby purchasers can vote for the best recipe in the book.

Imagination and perseverance are the key to selling the books successfully.

Church Cookbooks are a great way to raise money for your church and to produce something of which you can be really proud.

Its a guaranteed recipe for success!

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