Make the Most of Valentine’s Day in Your Shop

The fluttering of hearts around the world signals the arrival of the most romantic day of the year – Valentine’s Day. Soon many loved-up souls will be rushing to the shops to purchase a gift for their other half.

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All Aboard Doubles Gift Aid Revenue Thanks to Nisyst

Borehamwood storeLondon-based charity, All Aboard Shops, has doubled the amount of Gift Aid it collects within just two years after switching its EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) system to CHARiot from Nisyst.

The charity has recently collected in excess of 35 per cent of Gift Aid on donated items across its 18 shops; twice as much as the monthly average of 17 per cent it collected with its previous EPoS system and the highest in the charities 30 year history.

With 17 shops across London and one in Manchester, All Aboard benefits over 60 registered UK charities through the sale of donated clothes and household goods. The company rolled out the CHARiot system to its shops two years ago and uses the system’s Full Scan Mode (FSM) to ensure that gift Gift Aid is processed on eligible items by preventing the transaction from being completed until the barcoded label has been scanned.

Chief executive of All Aboard, Alan Haynes, explains: “Reviewing our EPoS provider was a high priority for me when I joined All Aboard and we opted for the CHARiot system because it is very simple and intuitive, offers us a more efficient way of collecting Gift Aid and is extremely robust in terms of HMRC compliance.

“Two years on, not only have we doubled the Gift Aid collection we were achieving with our old system, but we have also found the system to be 100 per cent reliable with zero errors. What’s more, Nisyst’s helpdesk ensures that any queries from our staff and volunteers are resolved quickly and easily over the phone.”

The positive impact on All Aboard’s revenue since switching to the CHARiot system has prompted the charity to develop plans to implement additional CHARiot functionality.  All Aboard has recently established a warehouse facility and now plans to use CHARiot’s Gift Aid on Rag (GAoR) capabilities to maximise rag items that are not suitable for sale in its shops.  The GAoR functionality enables accurate calculation of Gift Aid based on the current price of rag to ensure full HMRC compliance.

All Aboard is also considering implementing a lottery in future and plans to adopt the CHARiot Lottery function to ensure Gift Aid is collected on ticket sales.

Alan adds: “We know that the CHARiot system can provide us with additional functionality to help us maximise Gift Aid revenues, while providing accurate management information and supporting robust compliance.

“Charities often make procurement decisions based on purchase cost but our experience with CHARiot demonstrates the value of factoring in functionality, compliance and service too.”

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When is EPoS training essential?

EPoS training offers many benefits to your business and staff.

For instance, if your employees are confident in what they’re doing and in the equipment and software you use, they’ll be more productive. They’ll interact with clients in a knowledgeable and confident way which will not only make their jobs easier but improve customer experience. But when exactly is EPoS training necessary? Continue reading

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Hospice enjoys fourfold Gift Aid boost thanks to new tech

North East Wales hospice charity’s Gift Aid revenue has increased fourfold since the management swapped its manual till system to an electronic solution.

In order to boost its Gift Aid income, Nightingale House Hospice rolled-out CHARiot Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) system by Nisyst in its 11 shops and distribution centre in autumn 2015 and has since seen a great revenue boost.

Nightingale House Hospice 1John Donnelly, retail development manager, from Nightingale House, said: “We had always used a manual till system which meant we only collected Gift Aid on big donations such as furniture and white goods.

“We knew we were missing out on an additional 25% on other eligible items and wanted to introduce an EPoS system that would help us collect Gift Aid efficiently while being easy to use for our managers and volunteers.  We spoke to other charities and hospices to see what systems they had in place and came across the CHARiot system by Nisyst.”

CHARiot ensures that Gift Aid is captured consistently by all personnel and in all shops by preventing a sale from being completed until the unique bar code has been scanned for each item.

Following a successful pilot in two Nightingale House high street locations, Nisyst installed the CHARiot system in Full Scan Mode (FSM), in the remaining stores and carried out training with all the charity shop managers, who then trained the team of volunteers.

“CHARiot’s Gift Aid feature is the main reason we took the leap and switched to an electronic till system and the results have exceeded our expectations in the first year. In addition, we’ve started to use the system for management information and evaluating product performance, average transaction values and managing stock.

“Just recently we launched a scheme of refurbishing and selling donated bicycles across all stores. Thanks to CHARiot, we can quickly overview these transactions.

“We chose the CHARiot system because it’s so intuitive and the ongoing technical support provided by the Nisyst helpline gives us the peace of mind that comes with knowing that our team has experts to call upon for advice whenever they need it. We’ve been delighted with how quickly and smoothly we’ve been able to move across to the CHARiot system and our team of managers and volunteers has adjusted really well to the transition,” added John.

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Busting Charity Shop Myths

Charity shops are often faced with a number of misconceptions. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common myths and how you can banish them from your shop and shoppers’ minds.

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Charites missing out on millions in Gift Aid

Money jar full of coins for charity and a couple of heart shapesOur work is dedicated to helping charities maximise Gift Aid income so the statistics revealing that charities collectively claimed £1.26 billion in 2015 was welcome news.

In addition, 2015 marked a record number of more than 70,000 charities reclaiming Gift Aid. However, despite the 20% intake increase compared to five years ago, the sum is still less than a half of the total available.

The key to the problem is that not all Gift Aid that has been given is actually reclaimed by the charity. For those struggling to keep up with the administrative burden and hence missing the donations, we once again want to encourage then to make most of our CHARiot system. CHARiot warrants that Gift Aid is captured at every transaction by scanning the barcode.

It is a simple charity EPoS system, allowing you to keep 100% of your Gift Aid revenue. Since establishing the software in 2007, we’ve been working with customers to build on our system and 2016 saw us introduce new features including:

  • Furniture Collection & Delivery Module, an integrated and centralised digital planner enabling staff and volunteers to efficiently organise transportation for large scale second-hand goods
  • Gift Aid on Rag (GAoR) Solution – an HMRC recognised route to collecting the full 25%* of the sale price in Gift Aid on items marked as rag
  • Mobile Dashboard – Interactive Dashboard with the option to add the Mobile Dashboard function, which can be accessed from a PC, tablet or phone.
  • Cloud Hosting – Full-service Managed Hosting platform for all our CHARiot customers – overseeing the technical monitoring, maintenance and administration of your server,
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Preparing for a New Season at Your Charity Shop

January is sometimes viewed as a quiet period in retailers’ calendars, but it doesn’t have to be the case. So, how do you move your charity shop forward in the post-holiday season?

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Using Christmas to Your Advantage in Your Charity Shop

Christmas is one of the busiest and most profitable times of the year for retailers. It’s important that your charity shop is ready for the coming holidays, so that it can take advantage of everything the season has to offer. Continue reading

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Hospice receives five-figure boost thanks to Gift Aid on Rags

Hospice to add a five-figure sum to its annual funds thanks to the introduction of Gift Aid collection system for donations that are sold as ‘rag’.

Sale at St Peters Hospice shopSt Peter’s Hospice is Bristol’s only adult hospice, caring for more than 2,670 patients each year as well as supporting family members. The charity needs to generate enough funds to continue supporting its patients, costing around £19,000 every day.

Specialist charity EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) provider, Nisyst, developed the innovative Gift Aid on Rag (GAoR) functionality as part of its CHARiot EPoS system for charity retailers.

St Peter’s Hospice runs CHARiot software in its 50 stores and has been using the free add-on feature since its introduction in March 2016.

Paul Chivers, head of retail at St Peter’s Hospice said: “Before Nisyst introduced the new feature, we didn’t have a system in place to claim Gift Aid on items marked as rag. CHARiot’s GAoR solutions has been fundamental in maximising our revenue and we’re expecting that within a year of its launch it will have paid for more than a full-day of our operations. This equates to going from zero income to around £25,000.

“I only see this figure growing year-on-year as our staff and volunteers become more familiar with the process.”

The new system is HMRC recognised, ensuring that all Gift Aid captured can be fed into the charity’s revenues. Staff and volunteers can operate the software by using a hand held scanner in the stock room to scan the barcodes specifically for rag bags that are being collected on that day.

Any rag donations that have been Gift Aided by the donor are eligible for the full 25 per cent of the sale price in Gift Aid, but the fluctuating price of rag and the varying levels of rag collected each week make it notoriously difficult capture this revenue.

The rag price for that day is programmed into the EPoS system by the team at the charity’s head office, ensuring that any shop in their network processing rag that day does so at the correct price per kilo, allowing all Gift Aid on rag to be captured in an HMRC-compliant manner.

Dave Chunilal, technical director at Nisyst, added: “St Peter’s Hospice is a testament of our team’s dedication to helping charities across the UK to generate more revenue. We’re constantly investing in product development based on user feedback to ensure that it continues to offer users the most advanced functionality – which is how GAoR was born.”

For more information about Nisyst’s CHARiot system, visit www.charityretailsystems.co.uk and follow Nisyst on Twitter – @NisystEPoS

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Keeping up with Gift Aid training

Since Gift Aid was introduced under the Finance Act 1990, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been faced with multi-million losses due to its abuse. Whether through avoidance, fraud or error, the missing revenue came to serve as a catalyst for HMRC to re-evaluate the Gift Aid processes which subsequently lead to the launch of new, stricter guidelines in December 2015.

In a nutshell, all charities should follow a two-stage process to comply with the new guidelines.

Training process

Firstly, everyone involved with processing Gift Aid donations should be trained appropriately. Stage two is keeping a record of this training

The rules require for charities to educate staff and volunteers to be more vigilant when processing donations. Ideally, the training would consist of a verbal induction followed by a simple test which would help the staff and volunteers understand what signing up to Gift Aid is about. If they pass the test to a good standard, that will show the individuals’ capabilities.

At head office level, an employee or volunteer may need to learn about processing Gift Aid revenue and submitting values to HMRC whilst retail staff have to be asking donors the right set of questions in store. Volunteers need to make sure that the items donated actually belong to the person dropping them off.

 

It is also a requirement for staff and volunteers to ensure that the donor is a UK tax payer before capturing Gift Aid. Whilst employees can help people fill in Gift Aid donation forms, they absolutely have to let the donors review the documentation as well as tick the UK taxpayer box and sign the declaration form which is required as part of the agreement.

 

Record keeping

The very thought of keeping extensive records causes charities the biggest headaches but the process is actually very flexible. HMRC simply wants to see an audit to show that staff and volunteers have been trained to the required ability in order to fulfil their role in processing Gift Aid donations. As there are no set guidelines for what this should look like, charities can improvise and implement processes best suited to their operations.

 

Keeping proof of training can be as simple as using a dated document template that all trainees sign along with their manager when they start working with Gift Aid transactions. The most important consideration here is safe storage as the data must be easily retrievable and ready for reference or even an HMRC audit. Information can be stored physically in a lockable unit or digitally, such as in the cloud.

 

Last but not least, it’s vital to understand that whilst technology can assist charities to implement training and record keeping, HMRC doesn’t require the process to be digitised. Those worried that installing new tech or providing staff with online training is a mandatory requirement can therefore breathe a sigh of relief.

 

Have any further enquiries about complying with Gift Aid training? Don’t hesitate to contact us; you can speak to our friendly team on 01204 706 000

 

Written by Dave Chunilal, technical director at Nisyst for UK Fundraising

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