Anticipate the Rush
Help! I’ve got too many donations coming too quickly!
Have you heard these cries from your team? Of all the challenges facing a thrift operation, an overwhelming rush of donations is the best one to have. But it isn’t stress free.
Donations are the lifeblood of every thrift store. Without them you don’t exist. The donations coming through your doors or picked up in neighborhoods can increase to a point of where it’s clogging up your space and spilling out of the building. This problem is a good one to have. But it creates frustration for team members as they see their available space dwindling, not to mention how it looks to a donor.
Tracking your donations allows you to see patterns from year to year. You can identify time periods when you encountered a rush of donations. With this knowledge you can anticipate those times of the year donations will increase. It’s one more reason why it’s imperative to track your donations. I can’t stress enough the importance of tracking your donations.
In order to track donations efficiently, create a simple, quick way for donation attendants and truck drivers to record the donations received. This process can be a clipboard with a preprinted form you’ve created or it can be a digital solution, like ThriftTrac. Whatever solution you choose, it must be quick so team members can focus on helping donors. It must keep donors’ cars moving at a fast pace and your truck drivers getting their route done in a timely manner.
Here’s another tip. Place your donations in a receptacle that can hold a medium to large amount of donations that
can be counted, weighed (if applicable), and moved easily.
Ok, your crew members are tracking all of the donations coming in, now what do you do? In the beginning, I tracked the data with a simple Excel worksheet. The power of a spreadsheet is so helpful, but I spent hours going over the data.
I now use ThriftTrac. It is so quick and easy to use. It is a lifesaver. I see daily, monthly and yearly totals at the click of a button. Regardless how you track incoming donations, analyze your data so you can plan your staffing and supply needs ahead of the rush of donations and mitigate overflow issues a lot easier.
With this information, you now know when to expect a rush of donations. But what do you do? In part 2 of this topic, I’ll share some actionable strategies and tactics you can use to prepare for the onslaught of donations coming your way.