Sales and Money Month 2014

The Big Issue, being the leading agency in social change, offers some of the most excluded people in the country the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. Sales and Money week aims to explore the many ways in which individuals can be supported to become more financially included. The project seeks to deliver a week of activities focusing on increasing sales skills and Vendors’ income generation and improving money management amongst Big Issue Vendors.

What is Sales and Money Week?

The aim of Sales and Money week is to enable Big Issue vendors to make informed choices with regards to choosing the right financial products, in order to decrease the short term thinking some of our vendors display as they often live to meet their day-to-day needs. We also work with vendors to increase their magazine sales by reviewing their sales history and setting new targets, and to increase long term financial planning by working on budgeting and saving.

Aims

The main aims were:

  • To develop and improve sales and customer service skills for individual vendors, with the aim of increasing magazine sales
  • Improving money management, with an emphasis on debt management, budgeting and longer term planning such as saving up for new things
  • To provide  vendors with  support and knowledge in choosing the right financial products ,for example bank accounts or credit unions
  • Promoting increased sales through reviewing individual sales history, and agreeing new targets with incentives for achieving them

Activities

Our work is underpinned by the theme of ‘goal setting’. Each step forward that a vendor takes, however small, is one step further away from the crisis that brought them to the streets.

A huge range of innovative and engaging activities took place this year, such as:

  • Top selling tips compiled by vendors and shared with others through notice boards and training sessions
  • Money management workshops held by staff from local agencies, focusing on debt advice, welfare benefits  and budgeting
  • One to one sessions focusing on reviewing progress and action planning to improve sales and hit agreed targets
  • Fun quizzes and games aimed at increasing knowledge about money management such as coping with bills, home energy checks and avoiding food waste
  • Citizens Advice drop in sessions
  • Initiatives to improve vendor motivation, helping vendors to increase their own profile through social media, My Pitch and Streetlights

In Bath, an initiative called behind the jacket worked really well as vendors took part in interviews with the Bath Chronicle, and posted their profiles on Facebook. Some vendors have already noticed an increase in sales as a result of this. The success of the month was hugely influenced by the amazing support received from local businesses who donated some great raffle prizes. Prizes really help to provide an incentive and a boost to vendors. One of our fabulous volunteers even provides head massages once a month.....a superb reward for reaching sales targets!

Birmingham advertised their sales and money activities more widely this year, and noticed an increase in vendor engagement as a result. They felt that the initiative had proved to be good value for money, and helped to shape and influence ongoing work with vendors such as one to one budgeting sessions.
Several regions noticed that it was difficult to achieve increased sales targets as many vendors took holidays during the summer. Despite this, most regions managed to increase sales in the short term, the challenge is to sustain these improved sales levels. In Nottingham, the team organised debt outreach with Trent Debt Advice, which 5 vendors found invaluable.

In Bournemouth, vendors agreed to an increased target of a selling 5 additional magazines week on week. Even though this was challenging, 26 vendors successfully reached the target at least once within the month

In partnership with other agencies, the team in Bristol took part in the Young Bristol Exhibition, which was to raise awareness about the difficulties of being homeless. Feedback from the exhibition has been overwhelmingly positive, and numerous people who previously did not support The Big Issue now do so. The 10 vendors who featured in the exhibition have much more motivation.

Edinburgh made the most of the opportunities created by the Edinburgh Festival and targeted their training efforts on how to increase sales. Vendor involvement was excellent, and as a result several vendors are now able start saving for tabards.

All regions provided one to one sessions to review sales figures and targets, in London, 170 vendors called at Vauxhall for their one to ones! In Oxford, 11 vendors completed a detailed review of their income and expenditure, which has led to some really positive changes as to how they can balance their books through reducing expenditure and increasing income.

Support from Corporate and Voluntary Sectors

We would like to thank all our partners without whom we would not have been so successful.

Bath:

  • Lloyds Bank
  • Prêt a Manger
  • Woods stationers
  • Little Theatre
  • Thyme Deli
  • Boston Tea Party
  • Bath Coffee Company
  • Fudge Factory
  • Body Shop
  • Citizens Advice Bureau

Birmingham:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Prêt A Manger
  • Barclays Bank

Bournemouth:

  • Outset Bournemouth
  • Department for Work and Pensions Bournemouth
  • Addaction

Bristol:

  • Tribal
  • Outset Bristol
  • Barclays Bank
  • Reflections Haircuts
  • Credit Union

Edinburgh:

  • Prêt a Manger
  • Citizens Advice
  • Edinburgh Rugby
  • Edinburgh Printmakers
  • Social Bite Café

Oxford:

  • Prêt a Manger
  • Crisis Skylight
  • Barton Advice Centre
  • Barclays Bank

Nottingham:

  • Trent Debt Advice

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