Mercer Island Thrift Shop - Humanity

“Humanity has helped us solve various problems including ability for our managers to create a schedule anywhere there is internet.”

Devin Connors – Boston Pizza

Business Overview

Mercer Island Thrift Shop (MITS) is a nonprofit business operated by Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS), a department of the City of Mercer Island. The primary mission of MITS is to raise money in support of the programs of the City of Mercer Island Department of Youth and Family Services (MIYFS).

Through the execution of this mission, MITS also provides quality goods to customers of all income levels and local volunteer opportunities on Mercer Island, enabling people to: become an active part of their community, make friends and have social contact with others, gain useful skills and job experience, fulfill work, school or court ordered community service. It’s an institution where residents can donate and recycle household goods.

MITS began in 1975 through a rummage sale organized by several community volunteers which raised $3,413 to support Mercer Island Youth Services. In 1981, the growing project moved from a garage to a Community Center and the volunteer group upgraded its name and image to MIYFS Thrift Shop. In 1984 the shop was moved to its current location which was an old swim club. The building has been remodeled and expanded to 7200 square feet to accommodate MITS as a modern thrift business. We continue to rely on volunteers to power our business as they bring value, breadth of knowledge, expertise and connection to our community.

Scheduling Overview

With over 150 part time direct reports that have multiple job assignments, our scheduling system has become very complex. There have been portions of our volunteer work force that we do not focus on scheduling and we have relied on for regular attendance. This has resulted in poor coverage in some areas and has negative effects on our production and sales performance. Working across a span of generations, we needed a product that would be flexible in meeting the needs of both younger volunteers that prefer to interact with scheduling through an online product and older volunteers that do not use computers.

Previous Scheduling Method

We have been using MS Excel to schedule both our staff and volunteers. Our work study student staff schedule is laid out with complex conditional statements that calculate lunch breaks, then wages and reimbursements from State and Federal funding to calculate payroll expenditures. Time off request dates are blocked out before entering staff shifts. Our volunteer work schedule is a separate shift and job chart printed monthly, using white-out as time away notices are given. We fill those job assignments with part time staff as gaps in coverage are identified.

Since Humanity

We are just getting started with the work scheduler Humanity but its features allow our technology-inclined volunteers to interact with our scheduling process to improve our coverage and communication. Text and email shift reminders are an added resource for communication that we hope will affect the attendance but also the communication of volunteers that want to use this feature.

Some of our older volunteers are not interested in interfacing with a computer a work scheduler product and Humanity gives us different options to manage that portion of our volunteer workforce. Adding our work study students to the system will help us eliminate the step of writing up a daily job assignments by using the job assignment features available in the work scheduler. This is an invaluable resource allowing us to get a more accurate glance at our available staffing.

We are impressed.- Suzanne Philen, Manager, Mercer Island Thrift Shop


So far our interaction with the Humanity team members has been prompt and effective. Our questions have been quickly answered and team members are a pleasure to communicate with.

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