Case Study: British Heart Foundation

Volunteers play a pivotal role in charity store operations. Here's why BHF turned to Rosterfy to make sure they could offer the best experience

Volunteers play a pivotal role in charity store operations and how much an organisation is able to raise funds. British Heart Foundation is very aware of their importance, so they turned to Rosterfy to make sure they had a platform with the right level of functionality to give their volunteers the best possible experience.  

About British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation (BHF) is a charity organisation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases. With almost 700 charity retail outlets in the UK supported by over 11,000 volunteers, their support makes a huge impact to the charity.

BHF aims to fund around £100 million of research each year into all heart and circulatory diseases and the things that cause them. 

In this case study we will explore how BHF uses Rosterfy to improve the efficiency of their volunteer management, ensure compliance with each volunteer application and enhance the overall volunteer experience.

The challenges within the Retail Charity Sector

Operating costs are a significant challenge facing charities operating in the retail sector. Charities must maintain low overheads to achieve profitability and maximize their impact. However, overhead costs, primarily rent and staff costs are increasing and many charities struggle to keep up with these inflationary costs. 

British Heart Foundation has decided on a strategy that ensures the best possible experience for its customers. Their outlets are modern, well-stocked and maintained to the highest standards. They must continuously evaluate and adjust their operating models to remain efficient and cost-effective.

Involving volunteers with your cause is a key part of charity retail operations and BHF is no exception, with over 11,000 volunteers across their stores, offering over 70,000 hours of work each week.

High Street Charity stores don't receive preferable rates in most cases. We have to ensure the standards we set are very high until the point you wouldn't even know it's a charity store. Volunteers play such a pivotal role in our shops and stores due to their significant time commitment they donate to BHF - 
Linda Fenn, Head of Volunteering, British Heart Foundation

Post pandemic and in the current cost of living crisis people are choosing to volunteer in different ways. It’s vital that charities respond to these changes. Charities invest so much into the volunteering experience that it is imperative they can offer a great experience that’s scalable and adds value to the organisation.

The average age of BHF’s volunteers was previously around 59 years old, while new applications are from volunteers with an average age of 29 years old. BHF has adapted to this change in demographic by offering a modern and engaging experience for their volunteer program, with better communication and the use of technology.



Why British Heart Foundation brought in Rosterfy

To ensure the smooth running of their volunteer programs the organisation turned to Rosterfy—a scalable volunteering management platform designed to streamline the scheduling, communication and engagement of volunteers. 

Using Rosterfy in their ‘Action Team’ initiative for example, gave them a chance to build a database of people who could not only volunteer ad hoc at events but support different initiatives, providing extra value across all services within the whole organisation. 

“During the 2022 London Marathon, we were the charity partner, and we have in the region of 500 to 600 volunteers through the platform [Rosterfy], and when I spoke to somebody from the event they said that was the best volunteering experience they have ever had” - Linda Fenn, Head of Volunteering, British Heart Foundation.

We're able to say exactly how many volunteers we have in our shops and stores, as well as those supporting our events as part of BHF's Action Team. That's because of Rosterfy -
Sue George, Volunteer Development and Systems Manager at British Heart Foundation

Now, they can offer opportunities to an active database of over 6,000 volunteers, screened, compliant and ready to go.

The Results

Rosterfy is used to manage volunteers across 700 stores. They have reduced the time it takes to manage referencing alone by 15 minutes per application. When you have over 300 applications as BHF does each week that adds up to a lot of time.

Keeping compliant and ensuring no volunteer starts a shift without the necessary checks made is vitally important to them. 

For referencing alone, Rosterfy saves us around 15 minutes per applicant, representing a significant time saving across the volunteering functions" - 
Sue George, Volunteer Development and Systems Manager at British Heart Foundation

What their whole organisation has now is greater visibility over the volunteer program. They have the tools to deliver a world-class experience for their volunteers and their time savings mean they can focus on meeting their targets.

With plans to open additional stores across the UK, British Heart Foundation needed to future-proof their volunteer management with an adaptable and scalable solution - Rosterfy was the only option”

More on British Heart Foundation

You can find out more about British Heart Foundation and who they support with their research and fundraising visit https://www.bhf.org.uk/


Download our Retail Charity White Paper

The retail sector is changing and charities are having to respond. In this free to download white paper we asked industry what changes they are making and how to get the most value from their volunteer program. Download here: https://www.rosterfy.com/maximising-retail-charity-volunteer-programs-white-paper



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