A Unique Fundraising Idea


I have a fundraising idea that’s a bit out of the box.

I’ll warn you that it is not conventional.  It’s not exactly easy either.  But, if done right, it could net your youth group a good amount of money and cost you almost nothing to do it.

Willing to consider something different?  Then read further.

This past year, I published my first novel, Sheep Among Wolves.  It’s a self-published novel that started life first as an e-book, then expanded to an actual paperback book offering.  I’ll spare you all the details of why we chose self-publishing, but one of the big reasons was control over our work and a better profit margin.  You see, we get 70 percent of the sales of our e-book.

I’ll tell you, I did a lot of groundwork myself.  I spent a lot of time researching self-publishing, formatting, editing, and marketing.  The more work I did myself was less work I had to pay someone else to do.  The more I paid out, the less I made.  I found that producing an e-book took only minimal computer skills and was not actually that difficult.

Ok, I hear you, enough of the commercial for your book.  What’s the actual fundraising idea?

Well, that is the idea.  Self-publish a book.  Not just any book, but a cookbook.

This occurred to me the other day after a church fellowship.  So many of our church folks are great cooks.  I know I always look forward to church potlucks because they always have the best food.  I even had a church produce a bound cookbook one year of recipes from within the church.  It was an in-house deal.

But what if it wasn’t?

You see, with an e-book, your only expenses are services you pay others to do.  There is no overhead for books.  You don’t have to order a set amount.  If you can do all or most of the work, there is almost no expense to publishing an e-book.  No expense means more profit.

So what if you procured recipes from the youth group?  If that’s not large enough, target the entire church.  You can have congregation members submit their best potluck or family recipe.  As a fun fellowship, have everyone bring their dish so you can photograph it (for the book, of course) and then eat it afterwards (for the fun, of course.)

Once all the recipes are compiled and photos taken, format it into a cookbook.  Formatting is not as hard as it seems.  For a computer savvy teen or adult, it can be done in a few hours.  It mainly consists of learning some HTML code and placing all your images in the right places.  Find a good editor to edit your work.  When it’s done, you simply publish it on-line and start selling on Amazon, Nook, etc.  Most companies (such as Amazon) give you 70 percent on books $2.99 or higher in price.

Then turn your students and church loose on selling and buying the book.

A little quick math:  Charge $3.99 for the book.  That’s a profit of about $3.00 per book.  Now have each student try to sell 10 books.  That’s $30.  Now multiply that by your number of students.  Say you have 20 students.  You just made $600 and it cost you nothing but time and effort.

There are even better ways to increase profit.  You can sell it on your church website or Facebook page.  That’s 100 percent profit.  You could format it via CreateSpace and sell it as a paperback.  You’d have to charge more, but it’s more accessible to people in your church.  Again, it costs you nothing to do that.

So, there you go.  A different and out of the box fundraiser idea.  I’m not in youth ministry anymore, so I can’t try it.  But I’m curious on how it would go.

If your interested or want to know more or simply want to share results, e-mail me or post below.


One thought on “A Unique Fundraising Idea

  1. I am interested in writing a series of Children’s books based on Native American stories. I would also like to do the artwork for the books as well. I am looking to self publish and would like to know more about your experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *