I’ve yet to meet a youth minister who gets excited about managing budgets or planning fundraisers, but those are things we all have to do. At Smarter Youth Ministry, I’ve shared the kinds of money saving ideas that make it easier to manage your finances so that you can pay more attention to your students. Last month, I heard from a youth worker who’d been able to eliminate to car washes and replace them with fun outreach events. Here’s how he did it.
Cut a ton of money from your budget by negotiating pizza prices.
Most chain stores are run by independent franchisers which means that they’ve got the latitude to cut you a deal, and except the one you’re currently using, every place in town would love to cut you a deal. Here’s how to give them that opportunity.
1. Create a one-page proposal that you can share with every pizza place in the area. Tell them how many pizzas you anticipate ordering this year. Tell them the kind of deal you’re getting right now. Tell them you want a better one. Give them a window of time to get back with you (48 hours seems right). Throw out phrases like “official pizza provider” and give franchisers the option to place posters or coupons at your serving area.
2. Fax, email, or hand-deliver your proposal to every decent pizza place in town.
3. Once you receive responses, send another proposal to each of the places that responded. Share the best deal you received and give each one more chance to beat it.
4. Decide on a deal and lock it in. Negotiate delivery fees (these are always negotiable). Make sure the organization knows that you’re tax exempt!
5. Do this every year. Pizza franchises are notorious for changing ownership on a regular basis, and a new owner might be more willing to cut a deal.
When I started in youth ministry in 2004, I was paying $9.50 for a large pizza at Donato’s. Today, we get large pizzas from Cici’s for $4.50, there’s no delivery charge, and the owner insists that we do not tip the driver. In a larger youth ministry, it’s feasible that this could save you $1,000 or more.
If someone showed up to donate a few hundred dollars to your program, you wouldn’t hesitate to take it. What would stop you from saving just as much money and giving a couple of local establishments an honest chance to win your business?
Aaron Helman is a youth minister in South Bend, Indiana and the creator of Smarter Youth Ministry. He wants to reduce your frustration so that you can do ministry forever. Join his free email list to receive the actual copies of the letters he’s used to negotiate pizza prices.