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Host A Cook-Off + Earn Money For Your Semester Abroad

Posted by Auvi Evans on 4/17/19 2:39 PM

cook-off fundraiser

Trying to make a semester work out but aren't sure how to come up with the money you need? Fundraising is one way volunteers have funded most or all of their trip. We've had volunteers have luck with this cook off idea in the past and wanted to fill you in.

Fundraising doesn't have to be door to door ... actually we wouldn't recommend that! There are tons of ways to come up with money for your semester abroad and volunteers have seen awesome success doing a lot of different things.


We're All About Fundraising!
Check out our guide for more helpful hints and ideas when it comes to fundraising for your trip!



If you're looking for more ideas, consider hosting a "cook-off" where you can raise money and also eat yummy food!

What Is A Cook-Off?

Never been to a cook-off? No worries — basically it's a cooking contest where people make different dishes and there's a contest to decide who made the best one. There are a lot of different ways to pull it off, so we have some tips to help you have success with yours!

Tips For Success

Let people know what you're doing

Make sure people know the why behind the fundraiser. When you advertise and invite people, make sure you let them know about your volunteer work that their funds will be supporting. Take some time to talk about what you are doing over the mic before the winners are announced, walk around and talk to people, and have a booth set up with info about what you are doing. On that booth you can even have a cash donation area where people can donate more money if they'd like. Refer people to the ILP website for more credibility to why you're raising money.

Charge admission

Charging admission will be one of the best ways you earn money the day of the cook-off. Don't make it too pricey, but even a couple bucks per person adds up quickly and can help you reach your goal.

Come up with specifics

What's your theme? Will people be making chili, pie, cakes, or cookies? Decide what theme you want to go with so people know what they will be making. If you want to do more than one dish, go for it, but keep it minimal so you can advertise something more specific and unique!

Who is voting? Choose who the judges will be. You can have a few specific people be judges, or get more people involved by letting the crowd choose. If the crowd is choosing you can set out a paper in front of each dish for people to add a tally mark to, or come up with your own way for the crowd to choose winners

What are the prizes? What will your prizes be for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners be? You don't want to spend a ton on prizes so I'd go to local businesses and see if they would be willing to donate product or gift cards you could use at the cook-off. Advertise the prizes when you're inviting people to the cook-off. The more people who bring a dish, the more fun it will be!

Tip - make sure you have a few people who you know you can count on to bring a dish (like your mom, your mom's best friend, yourself, etc) so that even if people arrive without a dish, it's not a flop!

Get the community involved

Get your community involved as much as possible. Ask local businesses if you can put up fliers to advertise the event, ask businesses to donate things you may need like prizes, tablecloths, plates etc:, the less you have to pay for the better!

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Topics: Getting Ready For Your ILP Trip, Saving Money + Fundraising

Exploring The World For Nearly 30 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We share our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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