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Pasta for a Cause: Easy Homemade Fund-Raising

Pasta for a Cause: Easy Homemade Fund-Raising

Sure, we love when the Girl Scouts come knocking with cookies or when co-workers start selling chocolate bars for their son’s Little League team. Those are easy ways to support a cause (while indulging your sweet tooth!). But let’s say you want to put forth your own philanthropic efforts—something original and easy to promote.

How about something that encourages families and friends to spend time together? We call it “Pasta for a Cause,” and it couldn’t be simpler. Just follow these easy steps and tips to launch your very own fund-raiser. Ready to use your noodle? Let’s get started…


Like selling those aforementioned treats, this fund-raising strategy is all about marketing something delicious to eat. Our quick-fix idea is dinner in an Italian-themed gift basket. Only instead of a basket, you’re using a handy, durable Pyrex® 4 quart mixing bowl , filled with all the nonperishables needed for a pasta dinner—dry pasta, sauce, seasonings, a decorative dish towel or cloth napkins, a tried-and-true recipe—plus information about your nonprofit organization.


Invite your friends and family over for a pasta party! Whip up some linguine, explain your plan and together you can decide on an organization to support.


Make your fund-raiser personal. Look for nonprofits in your area that support causes you’re passionate about, then find out what that organization needs most. Perhaps your local community center could use children’s books, or a food pantry needs funds for a new delivery truck—with a specific goal in mind, you can start rallying for your campaign.


When it comes to asking for freebies, don’t be shy. The Italian bakery around the corner may be willing to donate baked goods to the first 25 or 50 buyers. Explain how you plan to market the fund-raiser and offer to mention their business in any promotions…maybe even include their business card or coupon in each “basket” sold. Try reaching out to other small businesses as well, such as local wine shops and restaurants—the owners may be just as passionate about the cause as you are.


  • Start by purchasing enough supplies to make three or four display sets, and use them to take orders from friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. (By doing this, you eliminate the risk of overpurchasing ingredients and other items.)
  • Check online or at large retail superstores for deals on dish towels or seasoning blends, and let your creativity shine. Think red-and-white checked napkins and different colors of pasta.
  • Promote your campaign by strategically placing display sets where you plan to do most of your sales—at the office, at the nonprofit organization, at your local community center—and keep order forms close by. (Learn how to create your own sales forms here: .)


Decide how much to charge. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 50% profit, which goes directly to the charity or cause. If your mixing bowl, pasta ingredients and dish towel or napkins cost around $20, that means you charge $30 each, and you can donate $10 per set sold back to the charity. Keep organized by creating a spreadsheet of initial expenses and remember to save your receipts.


Determine a reasonable deadline to make your sales, and work your way back to your go-date.

  • Sell for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Include the cutoff date on your order form as well as in any promotions.
  • Remind customers to allow 4 to 6 weeks to receive their order. (This gives you enough time to purchase, assemble and deliver the goods.)


Social media and networking sites make it easy to promote your sales campaign to the masses.

  • Post pictures or a fun video of the display kits and keep your followers informed with your sales progress.
  • Use them as a handy way to thank participating businesses.
  • Consider asking the charity to help you spread the word by posting info on their sites, e-mailing their supporters or donors, or including your campaign efforts in their monthly newsletter.
  • Throughout your campaign, remember to take notes and pictures as you work to make a difference in your community. Good luck and have fun! And when it’s over, please let us know how you helped a local charity reach its goal.

YOUR TURN:Have you ever created your own fund-raiser with friends or family? What did you do?