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How to Create a Church Cookbook as a Fundraiser

In many churches, potlucks are a regular occurrence. After attending for a while, you probably know who is casserole is the best and who makes amazing chocolate cake. Those delicious dishes are edible gold. Compiling your church members' favorite recipes into a cookbook is an excellent fundraiser. Here is a guide on how to make your own church cookbook.

In many churches, potlucks are a regular occurrence. After attending for a while, you probably know who's casserole is the best and who makes amazing chocolate cake. Those delicious dishes are edible gold. Compiling your church members' favorite recipes into a cookbook is an excellent fundraiser. Here is a guide on how to make your own church cookbook.

First, you'll need to gather all the recipes. There are many ways to do this. First, ask your congregation to contribute their personal favorites. You could stop here and just use what you get. However, more people will participate if you make it fun. We suggest having a bake off. Host a community taste testing where people can vote on their favorite chocolate chip cookie or roast chicken. Not only does this get more people in your church involved, it is an easy way to introduce people from the community to your church. As my pastor says, conversation flows more freely when people share a meal.

Next, decide which recipes to include. You may want to include whatever people offer for the sake of harmony. Or you might only add the winners of the bake off. Whatever method you use to select recipes, keep the overall appeal in mind. If you end up with mainly dessert recipes, consider making it specifically a sweets cookbook. Otherwise, try to incorporate a wide variety of items. You may want to ask your congregation for a second recipe donation, this time focusing more on specific categories that are lacking.

After you've decided which recipes you want, you'll need to type them. When making the original request, we suggest asking people to email their entries rather than turn in handwritten cards. This will greatly reduce production time. Everything also needs to be organized into categories. You may have begun this process during selection. Now is the time to finalize which section each recipe belongs in and add page numbers.

Once things are organized, choose a divider system. If you have a high speed copier or laser printer, you can imprint your section titles onto copier tabs. An inkjet printer can do the same with customizable index tabs. Or you may find it easier to insert printed labels into plastic tab inserts. Another option is to purchase preprinted indexes. With these, all you have to worry about is designing the table of contents; pre-lettered or numbered tabs will line up with the section titles for easy referencing. And finally, there is also the option of ordering custom tabs. All of these are compatible with binding, which we'll get to soon.

Now you'll want to create an index. This is generally an alphabetized list at the back of the book for quick referencing. An easy way to do this is to type all your titles into a word program, using a separate line for each. After you've finished, select all and either press A-Z on your toolbar or select "Sort" under the "Tools" menu in Microsoft Word or Open Office. This will automatically alphabetized the titles for you.

Finally, choose a binding system. This may be as simple as customizing a three ring binder and putting all the recipes into page protectors. For a more professional look, we recommend investing in a binding machine. They are reasonably priced and will be useful in other applications beyond making a cookbook. For about $100, you can buy supplies to create 100 cookbooks. That's assuming you purchase a comb binding machine. If you already have a machine, or at least access to one, the cost will go down. Even if you sell the books at a low five dollars a piece, you'll recoup your costs after 20 books. And after that, anything sold will be profit that you can use to further your church's endeavors.

Okay, all the steps are done. It's time to bind. Before you complete the project, we recommend having a few people look over final rough draft. Your book will have wider appeal if it's easy to find things, flows smoothly, and is free of grammar and spelling errors. Once you're sure it's perfect, bind away.

Congratulations, you're finished! We recommend promoting your church and new cookbook by having a community outreach event. Have everyone bring the dish they contributed and invite your neighbors in for a free meal. Use it as a chance to make new connections. They just might buy your book to get the delicious recipes they're tasting. And feeling connected will inspire them to return. Good luck and happy cooking!

Article Tags: Church Cookbook

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