What is a charity without its volunteers? They’re so much more than a resource. Volunteers keep your operation running smoothly. They help you foster local relationships and raise awareness. Providing feedback on services and operations, they uncover ways you can be better. And they’re just all-round great ambassadors for your cause.
It’s very likely your hunt for volunteers went on pause over recent years. But, thankfully, we’re past that now. It’s been almost a year since shops reopened and we began our transition back to normal life. And for many charity retailers that means a fresh batch of volunteers to help you get back to your best.
But what are the best ways to attract new volunteers? How can you secure yourself the pick of the bunch?
Work on your accessibility
The easier you make it for new volunteers to join your organisation, the better. You might be excluding large groups without even realising it. For example, by having a complex EPoS system that only adds to the stress of working in retail.
Complex systems can put off new volunteers. Instead, you want a simple, intuitive EPoS system that’s quick for them to pick up. This way, the onboarding process is simpler. It’s also worth considering how accessible your systems are for those who might not be as tech-savvy.
This also trickles over into the accessibility of your shops themselves. Does your floor plan allow disabled volunteers to move around with ease? If not, you might be restricting your recruiting pool considerably.
With such a wide variety of audiences online, it can be difficult to find your people. But the key is to appeal to the right mindsets. These are people who want to do their part for important causes and give their time to something bigger than themselves. Through your social media posts, promote the difference new volunteers could make and the impact they could have. Then you can include a link through to your website for the full application and specification.
Why not get your existing volunteers involved too? Get them to share their favourite memories. Create a behind-the-scenes video of a day-in-the-life of a volunteer. Content like this helps people imagine themselves in the role and creates familiarity with your organisation.
Attracting volunteers in the current climate requires flexibility. A recent report entitled ‘Time to Flex’ suggests that flexible working will be key for the charity sector moving forward. While it’s harder to offer volunteers remote working in charity retail, there are other ways to embrace a new approach.
Flexible shift patterns and being willing to work around their schedules will go a long way. It shows you’re ready and willing to meet your volunteers halfway and respect any boundaries they have with their time. Adopting a no-commitment approach to volunteering will open opportunities up to full-time workers, students who split their time, or retired workers.
The commitment and passion of volunteers keeps the third sector going. And a year into our recovery, now is the time to look at growing your charity and its family. Follow these tips, and you’ll be attracting new volunteers in no time.
For an EPoS system that’s easy to use, feature-rich, and available on a rolling monthly contract, get in touch. Built on 30 years’ retail experience, and 15 in the charity retail sector, CHARiotWeb has been designed to help your charity shops thrive. Reach out on 01204 706 000.