Laura Cope, Account Manager
Vouchers – whether for food, clothes, fuel or household items – are one of the best and simplest ways of delivering flexible and practical support to those who need it most. In our experience, however, distributing vouchers and ensuring they’re redeemed correctly can be two different things and the latter can certainly be a challenge. With so many of our clients putting through large orders for food vouchers at the moment, to support those facing increased hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve put together our top tips to help you and your beneficiaries redeem food vouchers quickly and easily.
1. Explain things simply and clearly
Particularly at a time where clients are helping many families and individuals who may never have received this type of support before, it’s important that voucher information and redemption instructions are communicated clearly and effectively. Recipients who (1) are aware of the support they’ve been allocated and (2) feel confident in how to redeem that support are far more likely to do so. Get in touch with us if you’re unsure; we can help you create effective communications to empower beneficiaries to redeem their vouchers.
2. Communicate with partner organisations
If your vouchers will be sent to schools or charities to distribute to families, effective communication with those organisations will be key to making sure households can successfully redeem them. In this case, the school or charity will be a family’s first port of call for any concerns, so keeping your lines of communication open and providing them with all the information they need will help enable them to effectively deal with any queries that arise.
3. Offer redemption support to beneficiaries
Now more than ever, vulnerable recipients may have difficulty redeeming their vouchers themselves due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis and prolonged periods of lockdown. Mobility issues or self-isolation may prevent people from visiting supermarkets and – now that the majority of vouchers are delivered and redeemed via email or SMS – many digitally-excluded recipients will struggle to use a digital device to redeem their voucher; either due to lack of confidence in using this type of device, or lack of access to one.
Redemption support such as ‘How to redeem’ guides will help make sure that all beneficiaries can successfully access the help they need. Alternatively, households can be awarded physical supermarket cards. For example, as we partnered with Our Newham Money over the winter months – to distribute the COVID Winter Grant Scheme funds they were awarded – numerous households were unable to access or use digital e-Vouchers. We needed to quickly establish an alternative way of providing residents access to food and so within five days had dispatched 700 physical supermarket store cards for food banks and local community centres to distribute to families in need.
4. Send a reminder
We can all be forgetful sometimes (does anyone ever remember to get the bags for life out of the boot?) and, with the busyness of work, childcare and life, it’s unsurprising that lots of people forget to redeem their vouchers. Sending follow up reminders with instructions for redemption should help reduce the number of people missing their vouchers or instructions. Reminders also give the recipient a nudge to ask you if they have any questions or issues regarding their voucher and reduces the risk of their award expiring before they can address their query with you.
We work with numerous local authorities, housing associations, charities and other organisations to make distributing practical support to those in need efficient and hassle-free. With over 47 years of grant administration experience, we can help to streamline your organisation’s procurement process to save time and money and make your funding go further. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.