An afternoon of volunteering

16 July 2015        

Simon Gillespie After spending time volunteering in one of our retail shops earlier this year our Chief Executive Simon Gillespie decided it was time to surprise volunteers in one of our Furniture & Electrical stores. Last week Simon visited our Camberley Furniture & Electrical store and spent an afternoon as a volunteer. He tells us about his day...

“As when I volunteered in our Wilmslow shop I was greeted by all the friendly staff and volunteers before getting straight into work. 

“I was tasked with a variety of jobs throughout the afternoon, from processing online furniture collection bookings, to inputting gift aid details, to packaging up items for eBay to pricing stock. It was during the task of pricing stock I accidentally printed a number of labels all priced at £0 – which I have kept as a memento of my day.”

Pricing

“Not only had the technical side of pricing our items caught me off guard, but also understanding how to price the items. The team are dealing with large stock which is very varied. While we have a guide on how things should be priced there is so much to consider! The price of something will depend on its condition, quality, whether it’s a brand or not and the team also need to take in to consideration the local market and what similar items are being priced at to ensure we are pricing competitively as well as fairly for our customers.

“The ability to price something at a competitive price makes such a huge difference to our income. Each year our retail division is responsible for generating around £34million to help support our essential research and we wouldn’t be able to reach this figure without the knowledge our shop managers and volunteers ensuring we sell only quality items at the best price.”

Customer service 

“Over the afternoon I got to watch our volunteers interact with customers and I was astounded at their knowledge of the stock they have in store, quickly being able to point customers in the right direction, update them on sold stock and find alternatives for items which may no longer be available. 

“As the majority of our stock is individual because it is donated we aren’t able to reorder items, however our volunteers were fantastic at suggesting alternatives and finding similar products – really listening to the customers’ needs and trying to find a solution. I was extremely impressed.

“The afternoon was a real eye opener to the truly incredible volunteers we have who make a real difference every day to our fight against heart disease

“I also got some great feedback from staff and volunteers that I was able to feedback to our management team the very next day!”

Volunteer today

Our volunteers are at the heart of the charity and we simply wouldn’t be able to continue our life saving work without them.  

Volunteering with the BHF for just half a day a month would fund one of our scientists to carry out essential research for a whole hour.