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Information about staffing a charity shop.
Staffing a charity shop
Most charity shops have paid shop managers who are supported by a large team of volunteers. For safety and security reasons, there should always be at least two people working in the shop at one time. This will also help with the smooth running of the business. If possible, there should be one or two people on the shop floor and at least one or two in the backroom, processing stock.
The benefits of paid staff
Having a paid shop manager can seem at odds with the charity shop ethos, but it has been found that having a permanent employee in place can help to raise much more money for your cause. Some of the benefits of a paid shop manager are:
- longer opening hours: as they do not need to fit around volunteers’ availability, shops can be open from 9am-5.30pm, Monday-Saturday
- professional and consistent management
- smooth running of the shop
The shop manager's responsibilities will include: stock generation, pricing, preparation and disposal; volunteer recruitment and motivation; promotion of the store; cash handling, administration, and health and safety.
Volunteers are vital for a successful charity shop. Their commitment, dedication and willingness to offer their time and effort for free ensure that the outlets are a viable fundraising activity. Their activities and responsibilities include:
- shop work: staffing the till, helping customers, displaying the stock etc
- backroom work: preparing stock; sorting, hanging, steaming and pricing donations.
Volunteers can be reimbursed their expenses, but not paid in any other way - otherwise their status as volunteers could be challenged. Most charities recognise the efforts of their shop volunteers by ensuring they are consulted and their views taken into consideration, that they are trained as appropriate and regularly thanked for their support.
Finding staff and volunteers
You can advertise for paid staff and volunteers in the local press, through a Job Centre or in a shop window. Chatting to customers can be a good way of encouraging volunteers. Others may be placed with you as for work experience or as part of a community service initiative.
Paid staff and volunteers will all need to be made aware of certain responsibilities and issues which will come up as part of running a shop, such as:
- background to the parent charity: history, work and aspirations
- legal responsibilities: under the Health And Safety Act, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), Sale of Goods Act and the General Product Safety Regulations
- security issues, including theft, card fraud and aggressive behaviour
- spotting and valuing antiques and collectables
- shop issues, including administration, volunteer recruitment, staff motivation, stock generation and preparation.
External trainers can give talks on these topics and training videos are also available. A training manual, to which staff and volunteers can refer, is also useful.
Management and support
Once a number of shops have been established, a charity would usually appoint a specialist shops manager to take overall responsibility for the chain, and to help support the shops.
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) - for information on employment law
- Job Centre
- Volunteering England
- Volunteer Development Agency - volunteering in Northern Ireland
- Volunteer Development Scotland
- Wales Council for Voluntary Action
Have your say
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