charity shops productivity

What can help with productivity in your charity shops?

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Productivity is an important metric in retail. It’s how you ensure your shops are performing at a level you’re happy with. And productivity has actually been on the rise in this sector – up 6.6% in fact! This is still a vital consideration in the charity industry, even with its reliance on volunteers.


To raise as much money as you can for your cause, you need to make sure your retail operations run like a well-oiled machine. But how can you actually make this happen? Let’s look at three ways to help boost productivity in your charity shops.


Focus on your staff

Yes, to build your staff and volunteers up to be more productive, you have to invest in them. In the third sector, this might mean training. It depends on their needs. Maybe they need customer service training to ensure they’re delivering the best experience. Or it could be training in any unfamiliar tools or processes. 


This can be especially useful when upskilling – i.e. teaching them a new skill so they don’t have to rely on someone else to do a task for them. As a report by Charity Retail says, “volunteering in charity shops helps people to build confidence and develop employability skills that support the transition into paid work”.


You also want to focus on communication with your staff. Are you sure they know what’s expected of them? Do you have the systems in place so they can get a hold of you (or an appropriate person) when needed? If you focus on what your staff needs, you can give them the experience they need to be more productive.



So much productivity can be lost because of an unorganised work system. If you don’t have a standardised process for certain tasks, they can take longer than they need to. Let’s take a common example in charities: Gift Aid.


Many of us know how laborious it can be to register a donation for Gift Aid. You need a signed declaration, which is often a separate process to any purchase or donation. But if you had a more standardised way of integrating into the process, it can go much quicker.


You’ll also want to mitigate anything that could go wrong. Mistakes happen – that’s just a part of business. But if you can predict where these might happen, you can stop them from becoming a huge strain. For example, there’s always a risk your EPoS might go down. You can mitigate this by outlining who to connect as soon as it happens. That means you’re not as unproductive for as long.


Invest in technology

The easiest way to boost your charity shop productivity is to invest in new tech. The reason we keep seeing innovation after innovation is because they make our lives easier. Could you imagine if we were still calculating change in our head? This goes for all aspects of your retail operation. Why take stock manually when an app could help with overall stock control?


Note that this is an ongoing part of your digital strategy. You should be regularly auditing your tech to ensure it’s still working for you. If it isn’t helping your productivity, then what is it doing? This is useful for something like your EPoS which might be showing its age.


Having a productive charity shop doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. By listening to your staff, creating some new processes, and investing in helpful tech, you can raise their productivity without adding to the stress of their day.


To find out how CHARiotWeb can make a difference in your charity, reach out to us today. You can schedule a demo or call us on 01204 706000.