What questions you should ask your volunteers about their work

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You know that running a charity isn’t as easy as some people probably think it is. You have multiple shops to oversee. Donation drives to run. Volunteers to recruit. And no matter what aspect you’re overlooking, you have to make vital choices to ensure you can increase the support you receive.


But you don’t have to make these choices alone. In fact, we would go as far as saying you can’t. You could have all the data in the world to make a choice, but what really matters is what the people on the ground have to say. Your volunteers are the ones on the frontline day in, day out.


So if you’re ever thinking about making a change in your operations, or simply want to know how you can be a “better” charity, you need to talk to them. What questions should you be asking, though?


“How can we make your day easier?”

We’ll start off with a more general question. Any changes you make should aim to make your volunteers’ daily duties easier. This is your way of finding out any roadblocks they keep coming across. And it’ll likely change from volunteer to volunteer. But it will give you vital data on where to look first.


For example, you might find out that many volunteers struggle with the EPoS interface. Maybe it isn’t intuitive or isn’t fit for purpose for a charity. This can also let you know if it’s getting outdated. You might be surprised to find that using it is slow and laborious, which hurts the customer experience.


It’s a great way to find out what you might be missing, too. This line of questioning might lead to some ideas you hadn’t thought of. You might discover that volunteers are constantly asked about a lottery or eCommerce site you don’t have.


“What slows you down most?”

Now we’re getting more specific. The first question was about what they felt might be missing. Whereas this question is more about digging into those daily annoyances that they’ve begrudgingly grown accustomed to.


Again, your EPoS system might be part of this. If it’s slow and crashes frequently, that’s going to slow down your volunteers. But it could be any aspect of the retail experience. Queues might be a big issue for them. If this was the case, you could then look at a way to beat the queues and have multiple volunteers serve at the same time.


Gift Aid is also going to be a big time sink. Having to go through the laborious process every time someone donates something means each one takes longer, and so volunteers can process fewer each day. Finding out this slows them down allows you to look for a solution that speeds up the Gift Aid sign-up process.


“What do you need more of?”

This question can be interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, it could be literal on-the-ground data. What does this charity need more of? As in, what donations? Volunteers will know if you’ve been inundated with books and are running low on homeware. This information allows you to have targeted donation drives and adjust your marketing message.


On the other hand, volunteers could interpret it as what they personally need more of. And this could be something like training. Volunteers may feel under-equipped to deal with certain aspects of their role. Any changes in technology might be above their skill level, so they need upskilling to match it.


We know how much you care about and appreciate your volunteers. But when it comes to making changes, keep them in the loop. If you aren’t already, ask them these three questions to get a more holistic overview of what your charity needs in the future.


For an EPoS solution that’s built to be easy for volunteers to use, look no further than CHARiotWeb. Our system was created with the charity sector in mind, and each feature is designed to make day-to-day work that much easier. To find out more, book a demo! Or simply call us on 01204 706000.