How can I involve my volunteers in marketing my non-profit thrift store?
I manage a thrift store for a non-profit. We receive lots of donations and sales have been increasing, but I still need to increase my customer base and turn over merchandise more quickly. Any suggestions for involving my store volunteers in marketing the store?
I am not sure if you have the authority to do this or for that matter if it can indeed be done without jeopardizing the non-profit nature of the business relative to tax code; however, I would suggest rewarding your volunteers for bringing in customers by allowing them to have something from your stock. This may provide the momentum they need to assist with increasing your customers. Perhaps finding out what is somewhat valuable to your volunteers will discern what to do for them so they are driven to help you bring in more customers. This is simply a B.F. Skinner Behaviorism approach to this situation...
Approach the local small businesses to help you advertise your thrift store, word of mouth is the best advertising media.
Ask your volunteers if they know any shop owners, who would be willing to put a stack of leaflets on their counter top to advertise your thrift store, point out that it is non-profit. Most of us are regular shoppers somewhere and have made friends with the local grocer or butcher.
Ask your volunteers to host "shopping days" for their friends! Open specially for them one night after hours, and have your volunteers invite their friends for this special shopping event. Have some refreshments (that the volunteers provide), maybe a special discount or coupons that they can then pass on to their friends.
I don't know what type of thrift store it is, but maybe your volunteers can help pick out outfits or unique items for their friends. A lot of stores host these events, why not thrift stores?
Have them wear t-shirts with the store details on them in public. Make the shirts catchy to the eye and have the people be ready to answer any questions about the store. You can also go the flyer route but I find flyers to be time consuming with little turn around.
Have each volunteer post a weekly or daily facebook post as a "check-in" at the store's FB page. Have them feature a high demand item or a "special" deal. This is free and easy to do. It will show up on their wall and their friends will see it. If their friends "like" the post, then it will show up on their wall as well. You can even have a contest for whoever gets the most likes in a week. Buy the volunteer with the most likes in a week lunch.
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