Membership Hack: An Appetite for Cookbooks

At the National Association of Home Builders, members submit their favorite recipes for a community cookbook that’s now in its second printing. Proceeds from Building an Appetite support NAHB’s scholarship fund.

How to hack it? There’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen at the National Association of Home Builders. The avid cooks in the membership are encouraged to share their favorite recipes for publication in a cookbook, Building an Appetite, now in its second edition with more than 500 copies in print.

The project was started two years ago in memory of Doug Wistner, the late son of NAHB Immediate Past Chairman Granger MacDonald.

“Doug had a passion for the culinary arts, and the proceeds and donations collected from the cookbook go to the National Housing Endowment’s NAHB Doug Wistner Scholarship Fund,” says Lauren Wallace, program manager of executive services. “To date, more than $78,000 has been collected.”

Why does it work? A cookbook may seem like an unlikely endeavor for home builders, but as it turns out, many NAHB members have a love for cooking, or they inherited family recipes passed down through the generations.

Sharing these recipes helps members feel more engaged and connected. “We saw these books as a community-building project,” Wallace says, “as a way to forge connections within individual families and among the family of building professionals that make up our association.”

What’s the bonus? NAHB members who attend this year’s International Builders’ Show can sample some of the recipes from the cookbook, including a boozy basil-thyme whiskey sour. Wallace says it’s a fun way to feature members’ culinary skills and encourage attendees to buy books on the show floor.

(Motortion/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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