Big Data is Helping Charities

According to Microsoft, Big Data is “levelling the playing field” for charities, allowing them to obtain important information that offers similar insights to their customers as international businesses. This announcement was made at Microsoft’s first-ever digital skills conference in Edinburgh by Steven Grier, Microsoft’s manager for Scotland. Continue reading

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Would a Gift Aid ‘Allowance’ Encourage Giving?

Research consultancy nfpSynergy has released a paper which looks at how the Gift Aid system can be improved in order to generate more income for charities. It suggests that if people knew that a tax break would automatically be added to their donations, giving would be encouraged.  This would involve assigning an annual sum of money to every person over the age of 16 from which donations would be treated as tax-effective.

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Charity Tax Group Calls for Simpler Gift Aid Rules

The Charity Tax Group has backed changes to benefits that charities can give to donors whilst still claiming Gift Aid.

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The Digital Challenges That Charities Face

A Charity Today report, published by ACEVO, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Institute of Fundraising and CharityComms, provides an insight of what charities do, how they operate and how they improve people’s lives. It also looks at how charities in the UK are changing and the digital challenges they face. Continue reading

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High-tech innovation at Keech Hospice Care

Keech Hospice Care has deployed new EPoS technology across its 33 charity stores to boost revenue through maximising Gift Aid contributions.

“Gift Aid is a huge revenue stream for us as we raise more than £300,000 each year through its capture,” said Angela Burgess, head of retail at Keech Hospice Care. “But with research showing that charities claim less than half of Gift Aid available to them, we wanted to take steps to make sure we’re not missing out. So Keech is thrilled to roll out this new EPoS technology.”

Keech Hospice Care charity storeKeech Hospice Care is the adult hospice for Luton and South Bedfordshire, and the children’s hospice for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, supporting patients with life-limiting illnesses – and their family and friends – both on site and in their own homes. The charity depends on donations from its community for 70% of its funding which means it needs to raise £14,000 a day to continue making the difference when it matters the most.

In August 2016, Keech switched its old till system to CHARiot, a charity EPoS system developed by point of sale specialist Nisyst. The software captures 100% of converted Gift Aid through Full Scan Mode (FSM) and Nisyst doesn’t take any commission.

Angela continued: “Three companies presented to our team but we bought into Nisyst as a business; we also liked its people and their personable approach. CHARiot appealed to us because of the time efficiencies, security and Gift Aid solutions it offers. After a presentation to our shop managers, three stores were needed to pilot the new system, yet a dozen hands went up when we asked who wanted to try the software first.

“Since the CHARiot roll-out, our revenue has increased by thousands of pounds. The new technology has ensured our staff and volunteers can effortlessly capture Gift Aid at every sale. We’re now able to monitor how different stock departments are performing and what product groups are selling well, which guides us in laying out our stores to increase sales.

“Staff and volunteers picked up the new processes quickly – everyone wants to be at the till now and loves how quick cashing up is. We plan to introduce its use for our lottery, furniture collection and delivery services in due course.”

Bob Chunilal, managing director at Nisyst, concluded: “CHARiot has been developed through collaboration with our customers and we’re constantly introducing new features to offer new opportunities to improve their Gift Aid contribution. We’re delighted to work with Keech Hospice Care and provide the charity with a solution that brings significant business benefits.”

For more information about Nisyst’s CHARiot system, visit and follow Nisyst on Twitter – @NisystEPoS

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5 ways to use social media to promote your charity store


Last year, we touched on the different ways you can use social media to promote your charity shop. You can read all about it here. In an age where your social media feeds update quicker than you can say “hashtag”, it’s important to stay in touch with your followers. To get you social-media savvy in 2017, we’ve put together five more tips to help you boost sales by utilising your social media following to drive people offline and into your stores.

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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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