Strategy and planning

A charity chain of 13 shops had implemented a new strategy two years earlier which wasn’t working.  Shop sales were down, the staff teams were losing motivation and profits were dwindling.  The consultancy carried out a review of each of the shops and interviewed staff from the central teams. It then gave the charity a new strategy, an overall analysis of the business along with a series of central and local recommendations.  The charity trustees and staff agreed a strategy implementation plan and the charity is now seeing a significant and sustained increase in sales, profits and motivation.

Feasibility study

This Fundraising Director of this national charity wanted to diversify its fundraising streams to include the unrestricted income and profile raising benefits of charity shops. They asked the Charity Retail Consultancy for a strategy to set up a network of shops.  The charity leaders worked with the consultancy to agree the rationale and expectations of the move into retail. Within two weeks the consultancy delivered a full feasibility study and strategy alongside a current analysis of the strengths, innovations and opportunities of the charity shop sector.

Productivity and process development

The relatively new regional charity had quickly built up a successful portfolio of shops.  However, the CEO was concerned that the shops’ rapid growth presented an element of risk, and the charity shops lacked some necessary checks and balances.  There was no shop operations manual or formal processes, and there had been no central training programme for the recently appointed shop managers and volunteers.  The Charity Retail Consultancy met the senior team and visited a number of the shops to fully understand the business needs.  It then created a bespoke operations manual, which was volunteer and staff friendly and that removed the risks identified by the CEO.  The consultancy introduced the manual to the teams alongside a relevant training programme for the shops and central staff. This ensured the manual was understood and valued, and that the CEO was confident his teams had the knowledge and skills to meet internal and external expectations.

Recruitment service

The Fundraising Director was recruiting for a new national Head of Retail.  Finding the right individual for the charity and the role was essential in order to secure the continued growth of the shops’ income, profit and profile.  Not being a specialist retailer, the Director contacted the Charity Retail Consultancy to request support in developing a new job description, person specification and advertising tools. The consultancy supported the charity in devising the appropriate toolkit, and supporting both the shortlisting and interviews.  The recruitment process was smooth and swift, and the Director of Fundraising was very pleased with the resulting appointment.

Mentoring and staff management

A charity with 4 shops chose not to appoint a retail manager but to invest in shop manager mentoring sessions alongside monthly shop visits by the Charity Retail Consultancy.  We worked with the charity’s business manager to agree plans and targets for individual shops and staff, and then agreed how to make these happen with the teams and measured targets against progress every month.  The visits were topped up by training sessions to ensure that the staff had the skills they needed to deliver on the anticipated outcome.

Volunteer recruitment and retention

This charity had become very reliant on paid staff to run its shops.  Every shop had a full time manager, and deputy managers, plus some casual staff. The high wage bill was denting the retail profit.  The Charity Retail Consultancy was contracted to work with the retail team to support the local managers in developing a volunteer recruitment and retention programme.  The consultancy delivered recruitment and retention training sessions and provided a toolkit to support the shops. This covered every aspect, from designing volunteer application forms, to identifying the types and number of volunteers needed and how to keep volunteers once they have joined the shop team.

Jayne Cartwright is among the best charity retail experts in the country, with years of experience heading top charity retail chains, and successfully mentoring start-ups in opening their very first shops. She is one of our go-to speakers for the sector event, the Charity Retail Conference, on a range of issues from operations, to human resources, to strategy. I recommend her services to charities with retail interests without hesitation.

Charity Retail Association