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Guest blog by Rosterfy
How BHF uses Rosterfy to improve the efficiency of their volunteer management, ensure compliance with each volunteer application and enhance the overall volunteer experience.
The British Heart Foundation is very aware of volunteers’ importance, so they turned to Rosterfy to make sure they had a platform with the right level of functionality to give their volunteers the best possible experience.
Challenges within the charity retail sector
Operating costs are a significant challenge facing charity retailers. Charities must maintain low overheads to achieve profitability and maximize their impact. However, rent and staff costs are increasing and many charities struggle to keep up.
British Heart Foundation has decided on a strategy that ensures the best possible experience for its customers. Their outlets are modern, well-stocked and maintained to the highest standards. They must continuously evaluate and adjust their operating models to remain efficient and cost-effective.
“High street charity stores don’t receive preferable rates in most cases. We have to ensure the standards we set are very high until the point you wouldn’t even know it’s a charity store.”
Linda Fenn, Head of Volunteering, British Heart Foundation
Involving volunteers with your cause is a key part of charity retail operations and BHF is no exception, with over 11,000 volunteers across their stores, offering over 70,000 hours of work each week.
Linda Fenn adds: “Volunteers play such a pivotal role in our shops and stores due to their significant time commitment they donate to BHF.”
Post-pandemic, and in the current cost of living crisis, people are choosing to volunteer in different ways. It’s vital that charities respond to these changes. Charities invest so much into volunteering that it is imperative they can offer a great experience that’s scalable and adds value to the organisation.
The average age of BHF’s volunteers was previously around 59 years old, while new applications are from volunteers with an average age of 29 years old. BHF has adapted to this change in demographic by offering a modern and engaging experience for their volunteer program, with better communication and the use of technology.
Why British Heart Foundation brought in Rosterfy
To ensure the smooth running of their volunteer programs the organisation turned to Rosterfy – a scalable volunteering management platform designed to streamline the scheduling, communication and engagement of volunteers.
Using Rosterfy in their ‘Action Team’ initiative, for example, gave them a chance to build a database of people who could not only volunteer ad hoc at events but support different initiatives, providing extra value across all services within the whole organisation.
Linda Fenn said: “During the 2022 London Marathon, we were the charity partner, and we had in the region of 500 to 600 volunteers through the platform [Rosterfy], and when I spoke to somebody from the event they said that was the best volunteering experience they have ever had.”
“We’re able to say exactly how many volunteers we have in our shops and stores, as well as those supporting our events as part of BHF’s Action Team. That’s because of Rosterfy.”
Sue George, Volunteer Development and Systems Manager at British Heart Foundation
Now, they can offer opportunities to an active database of over 6,000 volunteers, screened, compliant and ready to go.
Rosterfy is used to manage volunteers across 700 stores. They have reduced the time it takes to manage referencing. When you have over 300 applications as BHF does each week that adds up to a lot of time.
Sue George said: “For referencing alone, Rosterfy saves us around 15 minutes per applicant, representing a significant time saving across the volunteering functions.”
Keeping compliant and ensuring no volunteer starts a shift without the necessary checks made is vitally important to them. What their whole organisation has now is greater visibility over the volunteer program. They have the tools to deliver a world-class experience for their volunteers and their time savings mean they can focus on meeting their targets.
BHF aims to fund around £100m of research each year into all heart and circulatory diseases and the things that cause them.
Download our charity retail white paper
The retail sector is changing and charities are having to respond. In this free-to-download white paper we ask the industry what changes they are making and how to get the most value from their volunteer program.