Charity Shops: Retailing Consumption and Society

By Suzanne Horne; Avril Maddrell | Go to book overview

5

Staffing the charity shop

Voluntary, not-so-voluntary and paid staff

Just as the charity retailing sector as a whole has undergone major changes since the mid-1980s, in many cases the staffing of charity shops has radically altered. However, as noted in Chapter 2, charity retailing is far from a homogenous sector, and changes in staffing reflect the complexities of the broadening continuum of different categories and management strategies in charity shops. This chapter examines the introduction of paid staff, as well as considering how best to make the most of a volunteer workforce and looking at new sources of volunteers for charity shops. Topics covered include the complexities of volunteers' motivations and needs, and their role in the charity shop's relationship with social and circulation of goods networks within the locality.


Understanding and making the most of volunteers

Given both the nature of volunteering and the transience of some charity shops, it is impossible to gain an accurate number of volunteers in charity shops, but various estimates show a clear growth in numbers in the 1990s, increasing from 50,000 (St Ledger 1993) to 100,000 (Mintel 1997) and 125,000 (Goodall 2000c). These some 125,000 volunteers contribute an estimated three quarters of a million work hours in charity shops in the UK each year (Goodall 2000c). Charity shop volunteers are part of a wider voluntary sector, but work in the niche of charity retailing, which is quite distinct from most other forms of fund-raising and voluntary work and is described by Goodall (2000c) as at the border between commercialism and retailing. Arguably, the same could be said for the League of Friends cafés and shops in hospitals throughout the UK and other countries, but what is distinct is the amount of turnover and consequent profits on trading. Charity shop volunteers alone contribute £150 million worth of work

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Charity Shops: Retailing Consumption and Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Consumption, Identity and Locality 11
  • 2 - Retailing 20
  • 3 - Customers and Demand 38
  • 4 - Materialising Profit 55
  • 5 - Staffing the Charity Shop 71
  • 6 - Pricing and Competition 101
  • 7 - 'It's All in the Mix' 118
  • Bibliography 137
  • Index 146
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