Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

One thing that I have learned is that if you want to be a good sale organizer, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your volunteers. Let's face it. We can't have a sale without them, so we need to volunteer ourselves in order to understand how to better treat our volunteers.

I went and volunteered today at my children's school for an event that they had specifically requested volunteers for. It was an important event. Last year, they had snacks, drinks and doughnuts for us. This year... nothing. And I was kind of like... hey, you asked us to come here, I didn't get time for breakfast and there is no time to go get something to eat. In case you didn't notice, snacks and drinks are always high on my priority list for volunteers.

In order to understand your volunteers and their needs better, you need to volunteer for something, several times a year. Something you know nothing about is even better. Remember, many of your volunteers have never worked a sale before. Put yourself in the shoes of your volunteers to help you become a better leader and a more compassionate sale organizer. You need volunteers. Other organizations need volunteers too. Step up to the plate this summer and become a volunteer.

Saving Faith

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

One of new sales happens to be in Nashville (actually 6 of them are) and she called me the other day to discuss dates. She was having trouble setting her dates and didn't want to conflict with my sale. And the conversation went something along these lines:

Her: When are your sale dates?

Me: Last week of July. Why?

Her: We are having some trouble with our dates. We don't want to conflict with you, but are having trouble settling in on dates.

Me: It's okay if you have your sale the same week as mine.

Her: I don't want to do that. I need to talk to you about Faith.

At this point, I was wondering how this conversation had turned into one about religion...

Me: What's faith have to do with it?

Her: I want her on my team.


This sale organizer wanted one of my team members to join her team as a lead volunteer for her, but didn't want to steal Faith from me. Truth be told, I was flattered that she came to me, but as I explained to her, Faith, doesn't belong to me. She is free to go wherever she wants. If she gets a better deal from them, she is more than welcome to go join her team. But after discussing this with the sale organizer and Faith, Faith's decision was to stay on my team and she wanted to join the other team as well. So the sale organizer has decided to change her sale dates so that Faith can participate in both sales.

Now, you may find this hard to believe, but I think it's great that Faith has this opportunity. Everyone knows that my lead volunteers get great perks, so the new sale will have to match her perks... this is GREAT for Faith! She now has 2 opportunities to sell and keep a greater percentage for herself!

I am very excited for Faith. And I am glad that she wants to remain on my team as well as the new team she will be joining. It's a win-win for everyone. I have always told my new sales that your consignors, shoppers and volunteers, contrary to what you may believe, will sell, shop and volunteer at many sales. My team does so with my blessing. So should yours.

Everyone Needs a "Christina"

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

Christina is one of my lead volunteers. I should say that she is one of my lead volunteers that everyone wants to steal!

Chris is my organizer, my micro manager of all things I have no time for. Tape, extension cords, sticky tack... all I do is text Chris and say "If I was a box of rubber bands, where would I find me?" And she would text back... "You are in the office on top of the black table."

It's funny to me how Chris thinks she doesn't "do" anything. But the truth is, without Christina, I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached... along with my clear packing tape, pre-sale passes, and red sharpies.

it's important to have a volunteer like Christina. Without her, we'd all be tossing stuff in bins and buckets and wasting valuable time trying to locate this and that. I know that before she joined my team, I spent most of my day wandering around trying to figure out where I placed my clipboard. Now, I can always find it on my desk, in my office. It's funny how she always knows where I place my stuff and has it back on my desk. I am now like a homing pigeon... if I have lost it, I go to my desk and there it is! Just like magic. That's my Christina. She makes my job so much easier.

It's important that as you start growing your sale, you start looking at filling a lead volunteer position that will help keep you organized and on track. She thinks she just piddles around, we all think that we would be lost without her. Once you get a "Christina" on your team, you'll see what I mean!

"Fantastic" Volunteers

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

Last week we talked about bad volunteers. On the flip side of the "no show" volunteers, we have awesome, incredible volunteers!

What are ways that you can show some love to those awesome volunteers? For those who go above and beyond the call of duty for me:

  • I keep them on my consigning list. If they forget to sign up for the sale, they already have a space reserved. This is very important because
  • I make sure that they always get snacks, drinks and meals... first.
  • They have more flexibility with their volunteer schedule.
  • Increased splits, and waived fees.
  • Incentives.

I have some awesome volunteers who call me the week before the sale... "I know it's late, I know there is a waiting list..." Oh sweetie, I just keep you on the list! That goes incredibly far. They know that you recognize their hard work and are willing to do something "extra" for them. And that's where this becomes more of a partnership... they start taking a vested interest in your sale.

Treat your volunteers with care and they will keep coming back, taking excellent care of you.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.