Volunteers are the lifeblood of every Charity Retail business. Without their support, performance will suffer and costs will escalate. Your shop will not be viable!
With the right support, however, your volunteer contingent will be well-trained and integrated into your organisation, and you’ll thrive as a consequence. But what form might that support take?
How many volunteers does your charity retail business need? Answering this question is a vital first step toward determining your recruitment strategy. You’ll need to know the sorts of work that need to be done, the shifts that need to be covered, and you’ll need to bear in mind your existing head count. No two organisations are the same, and each will require a strategy tailored to their own unique requirements.
You’ll need to clearly communicate the demands of any role to would-be recruits. This will help to attract candidates with the right skills, and to avoid misunderstandings that might drive volunteer turnover. By liaising with the wider charity, you’ll be able to leverage multiple avenues of recruitment, and thereby draw upon the deepest possible pool of talent.
Spreading the Word
Traditionally, recruitment might involve putting a sign up instore, or relying on word-of-mouth. But these methods, while still useful, leave a great deal to chance. Consequently, many charities are using other platforms, including local press, radio, and, of course, the internet and social media.
Spreading the word as wide as possible often means taking advantage of potential local partners. Can you advertise in local supermarket cafes, or garden centres? Are there any local organisations who can evangelise on behalf of your charity?
Having a voice in the local community can be vital in recruitment, and so too is liaising with local people. This might mean local companies, many of whom might encourage volunteering as part of a formalised set of corporate responsibilities.
Recruitment from multiple sources
Charity shop volunteers tend, traditionally, to be retirees who want to spend their time making a positive contribution to a charity they care about. But other demographics should still be sought after. Local schools and colleges might represent an opportunity, especially as several non-academic qualifications require volunteering. Students working toward a Duke of Edinburgh award, or a University application, might make for excellent recruits.
Getting the right help
A multi-stranded, complex recruitment strategy isn’t as easy to implement as an A4 sign in the window. But with the right support, you’ll be able to implement one painlessly – and the applicants you attract will more than justify the investment.
We can help you implement your recruitment strategy, covering all of your legal obligations and putting the appropriate documentation in place. Why not contact us, and take the first step toward making this a reality?
It’s far easiest to keep hold of a valued member of the team than it is to find a new one. Retaining those valued volunteers means making their working lives easy, enjoyable, and rewarding.
Like every other member of your team, your volunteers will need to be inducted following their recruitment. This is a chance to make a great first impression. You’ll need to communicate a coherent vision for your organisation, and what contribution they’ll make to it. Put across the right ethos, and you’ll keep volunteers who share that ethos.
Volunteers who have a positive experience are likely to spread the word to their friends and family, and thereby enhance the local reputation of your charity retail organisation. Conversely, those who have a negative experience are far more likely to tell their friends about it.
Investigating the background and skills of each new volunteer will allow you to get the best from them. Any relevant experience should be identified, and the relevant manager should be informed of it.
A Supportive Culture
A supportive, nurturing culture will be rewarding to work within, and thus it’ll help you to retain valued volunteers. We can help develop a framework for just such a culture, and put into place the structures you need to share best practices between different teams working in different shops. That way, we can ensure that the healthy culture is consistent across the entire business.
If you need support in growing your volunteer team, or you’d just like to discuss how you might improve your volunteer strategy and engagement, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the amazing work carried out by the Charity Retail Association; not just at this difficult time, but day in and day out. Their leadership, guidance and support helps to bring to life the vision of a successful charity retail sector in the UK. As a corporate member, we’re incredibly proud to work alongside the Charity Retail Association as an advisory body and highly recommend all charity retailers to join this informative and knowledgeable community, which strives everyday to be The Voice of Charity Retail.
Get In Touch
Charity Retail Training & Support Services 78 York Street London W1H 1DP