Continuity of shop staff seems to be making an impact on shop behaviors in general at the Sopo shop.. that and having an organized shop space.  I'm there 100% of the time now, and every part and tool has a place to go.  It's a lot harder for both adults and teens to pull fast ones or conveniently forget to put something away, and we seem to be collecting a lot more cash donations since there's one person to hand it all to and items are easy to find.

I know it's hard to do this unless you're paying someone to be there all the time (which is what we just started doing .. fingers crossed on the fundraising front.. I'll post up all of my fun Foundation Center research at some point in the near future, although I only looked up foundations headquartered in Atlanta.. I did go to a workshop on internet-based fundraising, and I'll pass all of that info along to y'all).

Likewise, we count some items as consumables (15 mm box wrenches, chainbreakers), and we keep fragile and likely to be stolen tools in a locked cabinet (cable cutter, fourth hand).  And everyone knows that I will keep them there until those cable cutters are put back in my hands at the end of the day.  I'm very serious about the cable cutters.  Maybe showing everyone that the tools matter to Sopo staff helps encourage good shop behavior, too.

Additionally, we created a "to be sorted" bucket for new donations and tools that get left out.  It creates a no experience necessary volunteer job, and it catches items that might otherwise wander off or get left outside.  It functions a lot like a library reshelving system.

On a somewhat related note, we've started attaching tags to some of the tools that explain how to use them, or indicate that one should ask for help if unfamiliar with the tool.  For example, we put tags on cable cutters and housing cutters to differentiate their usage.  (By the way, when did my writing get so corporate?)

Of course, none of this is foolproof, and no one method works alone.  Keep the suggestions coming!


On 10/1/07, Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, Inc. <> wrote:
Does any group engrave/etch tools to help prevent theft?  I don't know if this would be a deterrent but if anyone out there does it it would be worth hearing about...

Urban Bike Project of Wilmington

On 9/29/07, mike eng <> wrote:
One loss prevention idea that someone else (don't remember who) at BikeBike brought up is having shop aprons with pockets for clients to borrow so that instead of putting small tools in their own pockets and walking off with them accidentally, they put them in the apron pockets and then return them at the end of the day

Mike Eng
27 Sims Ave. | Providence, RI 02909

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