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Lasagne Fundraiser

How much would you pay for a gourmet frozen lasagne (1 whole tray) that you could store in your freezer?
(for example: lasagne primavera with a light bechamel sauce, gorgonzola spinach and walnut lasagne, lasagne bolognese, etc.)
If you knew that the proceeds went to a very good non-profit that you supported?
Do you think that $25.00 is reasonable?

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  1. I think you'd sell more at $20 or maybe $19.95. How big is one tray?

    1. How big? Is the tray 9x11x3? How many layers? Ingredients sound good.
      What about a smaller size? 9x9 or 8x8? Might be a bit more manageable.

      Yes, advertise the cause and what it promotes, as well as how much
      of the lasagne price goes to the cause.

      Create a label for each flavor with the ingredients, thawing and re-heating
      instructions, both in the oven and microwave. Make sure the timing is correct
      -- number of minutes.

      Find out if the cost of the lasagne is tax-deductible (probably 50% of the purchase price), and provide a receipt that can go into the buyer's receipt file. This might be
      a tear off portion of the ingredients label.

      Investigate the cool cardboard pans as well as foil pans, in case thawing or cooking
      can or will take place in the microwave. There's a good link on CH about these.

      6 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        Great ideas about the labeling.
        I am thinking that it would all be pre-order.
        It would be 9 x 11 x 3.
        I wouldn't make one unless somebody specifically ordered it.
        My idea is to take samples to work, and then when people want to order it, for a party, etc. they can let me know. I will leave the form in the lunchroom. I am going to look into the cardboard pans.

        1. re: jenniferdines

          You may want to figure out your cost of producing each tray of lasagne. If you spend $12 total on the ingredients plus the cooking pan for each tray, and sell each pan for $25, your donation will be $13 per tray -- or nearly the same cost as if you simply donated the money you'd spend on ingredients.

          I always applaud when someone wants to raise money for a cause, and I applaud your effort, so I'm not trying to criticize your efforts or your generosity.

          You may want to do just a little more thinking about how to serve your cause, and the best way to get the word out to a lot of people and raise a lot of money. In your greater community, is there another way to raise money, perhaps as part of a group that will reach many, many people and that might result in a larger donation? Is there a more cost-effective way to raise money than making lasagne? A dance, a party, a rummage sale, a book sale, a this or that? Think it through. If you decide to go ahead with the lasagne, please remember that any donation is always appreciated, however small.

          Sincere best wishes,

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Um ... hate to break it to you, sister, but ain't no law says the OP can't donate the cost of ingredients on top of the $13. In that case, the charity's getting twice as much as they would have if the OP simply donated the cost of ingredients straight up.

            1. re: mclaugh

              I'm certainly no tax expert! I rely on someone else for that knowledge!

              Since you know about these things, can you explain a bit more?

              Can jenniferdines, our OP, deduct the cost of her ingredients and tray pans on her taxes?

              Can she deduct the entire amount, or half, or what percentage? (I'm remembering 50% but I could be mistaken.)

              Can you do the math for us?

              What about those purchasing the lasagne, or any charity sale item?
              What percentage can they deduct? Is there a dollar limit? Also, are there only certain items that can be deducted?

              Glad to know you know about this stuff -- it will save time for the OP.

        2. re: maria lorraine

          You have to also consider all of the legal ramifications.

          Do you have a licensed commercial kitchen to produce the product? What are the rules in your municipality regarding products available for sale?

          Does your organization have liability insurance in case someone gets sick? Does your organization's liability insurance cover food related issues?

          1. re: jlawrence01

            good point jl! The cheesecake I mentioned was commercially made and packaged then sold as a fundrasier.

        3. If OP makes a dish that costs $12 and donates the dish to a charity they have a $12 donation. If someone buys it for $25 they have received something worth $12 and therefore have a $13 donation/deduction ($25 - $12). That's the theory.

          But they will probably write a check to XYZ charity for $25 and when they do their taxes will probably deduct $25. Sorry for being cynical but that is probably what will happen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jfood

            Most charity events should provide an appropriate donation sheet pre-event, stating the deduction allowawble.

            When my son's school coordinated a cheesecake fundraiser the cakes sold for $25.00 a wheel, offered in 6 flavors, and $10.00 was the allowable deduction. The order form stated the cost, tax deduction, flavors, charitable purpose and contact person. The buyer kept the top portion (which served as their order form & tax receipt) and turned in the lower section of the form with payment. Very easy.

          2. there are some very interesting responses here, but it seems to me that the amount you are going to charge is directly proportionate to how connected the purchasers are to the fundraising cause. I have seen parents pay truly remarkable amounts for certain items at the school their child attends, and I have seen people bid truly pathetic amounts for items at charity auctions that they were more or less forced to attend for social/political reasons - even though it was for a good cause.

            1. FWIW, I'd pay $25 for a good, frozen lasagna that's 9x11x3 at the office for a good, non-objectionable charity that a co-worker supports. [sign me up for a Bolognese].

              I love the labeling idea with ingredients, cooking time, deductability etc. . ., it would also be a good place to put some info on the charity.

              One note, it looks like the OP lives in Boston. It might be especially gracious to include a T-friendly bag so we can all get it home easily. I think people will remember having to lug that 9x11x3 pan home the next year if it was a hassle and might forgo a repeat purchase. Good luck!

              1 Reply
              1. re: sailormouth

                I agree. I would pay $25 for a good lasagna. Quality ingredients could easily cost more than what you estimate, though. The packaging would also convince me. If I could just pop it into the freezer and then straight to the oven, I would be sold.

              2. I think $25 is definitely reasonable for a tray of lasagna. The thing is, I wouldn't want an entire tray of lasagna! I think you should consider also selling some smaller trays, or better yet, individual slices. I would pay $5 for a slice of lasagna, which would actually increase your profits because you get a lot more than 5 slices out of a tray.

                17 Replies
                1. re: Nicole

                  If the fundraiser is for frozen lasagna perhaps selling smaller servings or freshly prepared slices would not be as cost effective. Fundraisers stop being FUN if the work cuts into the profitability. Serving food is a different type of fundraising activity all together. I would pay $25.00 for lasagna and I would pay $25.00 alone just to support a cause I believe in w/out something in return but I wouldn't want to create an expense when the goal is to raise money.

                  Sometimes the logic behind fundraising is odd. If I buy something for $25.00 and the cause earns less than half that, why not just give them the money?

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I don't know how it's going to cut into profitability. Presumably the lasagne isn't going to be sent home in an expensive baking pan, so making a smaller size or even transferring halves from a big pan to a smaller pan after prep wouldn't really cut into profits that much if the profit percentage for the smaller sizes is higher.

                    I think the idea is good, but I think the big size might not be practical for a couple or a singleton, nor will it necessarily fit in the average freezer with ease. There's no harm in getting an idea what sizes people would be interested in buying and then trying to figure out what would be most practical.

                    1. re: queencru

                      queencru, anytime you vary items there can be add'l costs. Meaning, additional pans, more wrapping, offering a variety of sizes and/or flavors can leave you short with one item, overloaded with a not as popular one.

                      It's challenging to find a product and a price people are willing to pay over the cost to either make it from scratch or buy it wholesale and resell for charity purposes. Sure it can be done but I wouldn't recommend offering too much variety. The last thing any food fundraiser wants is leftover product.

                      jenniferdines, I wish you alot of support and a successful fun-raiser!!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        I didn't get the impression that this was a situation where Jennifer is bringing in the lasagna blind. I thought she was getting orders ahead of time, in which case there shouldn't be any leftover product. When you're getting orders ahead of time, you can decide whether a certain size/type is really worth selling and if that size doesn't appear like it is generating enough interest, then don't bother to sell it. Plus, there is nothing that says she has to charge $12.50 for the half size.

                        1. re: queencru

                          For her sake I hope pre order means pre pay. Sorry, but folks are still capable of stiffing you, forgetting their commitment, running out of "mad money" etc. Look it's not all doom & gloom. Lasagna is not a typical item, quite unique in my book but preparing for the best outcome is all I'm referring to. The OP was asking for help.

                    2. re: HillJ

                      Honestly, I would just give her $25 but only ask for 2 slices, but I think many people just wouldn't donate at all if they didn't want an entire pan of lasagna. It's a problem of both appetite and freezer space!

                      1. re: Nicole

                        Agree completely, Nicole. I would just donate the money and not want the lasgne in return. I can buy a 24 oz package (about 6x9x2 pan) of a fresh made meat lasgne at Fresh and Easy for $3.98 and that makes 4 servings easily. If the package is dated that day, it is half off and still will keep in the fridge or can be frozen.

                        If I want to donate to a cause, I just do it. I grocery shop elsewhere and cook at home. I know I could make one from scratch (9x11 pan) for maybe $6 if I got all fancy with ingredients.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          "I know I could make one from scratch (9x11 pan) for maybe $6 if I got all fancy with ingredients"

                          Although I agree lasagnas a economical in terms of how many serings one can get from a pan, I find they cost much more than $6. After buying the noodles ($2), ricotta ($4), sausage / beef ($3), mozzerella ($3), and sauce ($2-3) the tab is considerably higher.. Even if I make a scratch sauce, I still spend much more than $6. Nevermind "fancy" ingredients such as bechemel or gorgonzola and walnuts or fresh herbs (i dont grow my own, but these are standard even in my "regular" lasagna, I just didnt include them in the cost analysis because I know many people have their own herb garden)...Cathy, I'm not necessarily singling you out...everyone seems to be in agreeance that $12-13 is what the OP would spend on her "gourmet" lasagnas. I guess it might be right if she was buying in bulk, but I think $25 would be reasonable because I would imagine if I tried to make a gorgonzola walnut or homemade bologanese lasagna out of "higher end" ingredients the cost would not be far off. Nevermind the fact that the proceeds are going towards charity. I wouldnt feel like I overpaid in the least after you factor in convenience and prep time.

                          Am I missing something here? Have I been overspending for years on my lasagna prep?

                          1. re: fateater

                            No you haven't. I happen to be notorious for only buying stuff on sale and lots of scratch cooking. I never will pay more than 33¢/lb for pasta nor more than 99¢/lb for ground beef. You don't need more than 2 lbs of meat and cheese as the protein for lasagne.

                            I am kind of well known for making meals for our Bible study group, charging $1 per person and making a profit (main plus salad and bread, iced tea or lemonade: no dessert) so that we don't have to pay for the Thanksgiving meal.

                            You can get great deals all the time, just have to be organized as to what you have in inventory.

                            1. re: Cathy

                              $0.99/lb for ground beef sounds absolutely revolting. How do know it's good?

                              1. re: sailormouth

                                On sale. Bulk pack. 85% lean. Major grocers. Southern California. Pretty much on sale every 4-6 weeks.

                                Right now because it is Labor Day and you don't have a choice, the advertised "sale price" is $2/lb for "natural beef". But if you walk in the store (I have been to 3 of the four major ones out here this week) there are "manager specials" of fresh ground (apparently unnatural) 15% fat beef for 99¢/lb. I'm not dead yet.

                                1. re: Cathy

                                  do yourself a favor, never grocery shop in Honolulu, the price shock would kill you.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    Oh I know.

                                    I have lots of friends who live there and some who have visited and stayed in a rental for a month.

                                    I deal with the local economy, wherever I have lived. Hawaii would be very difficult. But there are people who live (and eat) there while making minimum wage, right? I'd find out where they shop and go from there.

                              2. re: Cathy

                                wow 33 cents for pasta...the store brand where I shop is $1.14 / lb. Pasta prices have really gotten out of hand over the last few years. I know I could get it for $1 /lb if I shopped at aldis but I really like the store brand angel hair. Its more like thin speghetti than actual angel hair but nonetheless, I dont think I've seen 33 cents / lb ANYWHERE.

                                1. re: asiansensation007

                                  Grocery outlet. A chain on the West coast. When I found spaghetti for 20¢ a lb there (5 lb bag for $1), about 8 years ago, I told my friends they had permission to smack me if I ever paid more than that much ever again... after being giggled at a little, I have since revised my vows to account for inflation - to no more than 33¢/lb. I shop there, buying staples, find lasagne and other shaped pasta and buy a lot at once; it doesn't go bad...

                                  Aren't all of Aldi meats frozen? We don't have them out here (Southern California), but that is not what I am talking about. I buy fresh ground and not frozen nor those chubs. I always find it on sale and that ends up making the decision as to what that week's meal will be. I don't plan too much ahead-have lots of basics and then, you know, whatever is on sale will be turned into the meal. At church and at home.

                                  Don't get me wrong, I spend money on food, but to me, lasagne is one of the 'cheap' meals that I can turn a profit for when I cook for church. Two weeks ago, I spent a total of $28 and fed 36 people (5 are children, and don't eat as much, but still...)

                                  When I went to Fresh and Easy and the 24 ounce package was dated that day and on sale for $2, I knew I couldn't make it for that low of a cost and I didn't have to dirty up any pans.

                                  Back to the subject of this post- I will give to a charity I believe in, but usually not in exchange for something. Especially food. I donate to "Operation Thin Mint" which sends Girl Scout cookies to the troops: I don't order or get any boxes for myself to eat. (I believe this is a San Diego County Girl Scout cookie sale option and not nationwide).

                                  1. re: Cathy

                                    >>... after being giggled at a little, I have since revised my vows to account for inflation - to no more than 33¢/lb. I shop there, buying staples, find lasagne and other shaped pasta and buy a lot at once; it doesn't go bad... <<

                                    If you are willing to shop the Big Lots, Deals, and the like, you can get pastas for 3#/$1 if you are not picky on the shape. When you getthe opportunity, you need to stock up and buy a lot at a time.

                                    >>Aren't all of Aldi meats frozen? We don't have them out here (Southern California), but that is not what I am talking about<<

                                    They used to carry frozen only. Now there is a SMALL selection of fresh product. As for their frozen ground beef chubs, I found them to be some of the best quality (and leanest) on the market.

                                    >> I don't plan too much ahead-have lots of basics and then, you know, whatever is on sale will be turned into the meal. At church and at home. <<

                                    I don't use a list except to remind me of staples I am out of. Why plan to pay full price in favor of buying the loss leaders that are available. I think that using a price book for those items you buy frequently reduces costs a lot.

                          2. re: Nicole

                            As I said up thread, I would write a check for $25.00 with or without the lasagna if I believed in the cause.

                      2. I would even suggest having a large and a small option. You can probably fetch $25 for a good large pan but for those who really can't shell out that much, perhaps a $15 half pan would work well too.


                        1. I actually would pay that much, possibly on a regular basis if the lasagne was good (and it sounds delicious), and the lasagne was convenient for me to pick up. I've paid that much for non-charity lasagne from a caterer! I think food costs are generally higher here in Canada, and I don't consider lasagne to be cheap to make either. We are a family of only 2 adults and one toddler, but when I bought a big tray of lasagne we ate it two nights in a row then cut up the rest and froze it in meal-sized portions. I would also plan guests around having the lasagne. On weeknights it is tough for us to cook a meal and visit with guests but it is easy to build a great meal around a great pan of pasta.
                          It would be a convenience + taste + supporting charity/friend/community member thing for me. If someone was offering bland or commercial lasagne I would not be interested. We currently avail ourselves of a couple of small-scale, local options for dinner (neighbourhood caterer for fresh dinner and some frozen dishes) and they cost roughly $5 a serving.