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Technology is constantly evolving. It’s always offering new solutions and more efficient, effective ways to tackle problems or take the strain off demanding workloads. For the charity sector, it can be a huge boon. Tech innovations are finding a home in charity shops and on charity websites in the form of artificial intelligence, apps, and much more.

Are you thinking about upgrading your charity technology? For some inspiration, here are just a few ways others in the charity sector are using technology to boost efficiency for staff, volunteers and customers alike…

Chatbots

Some charities, namely the larger ones like Age UK, have been using chatbots on their websites to “speak” to customers. Chatbots can sound a bit sci-fi. But this kind of technology is becoming more and more common as a simple solution to everyday problems. 

A bot can respond to your users instantly, reducing your response time down to seconds, improving customer service, and freeing up your staff for other tasks. Simply, it’s a way to boost efficiency. Chatbots also allow charities to provide customers with information and support outside of working hours. If needed, the chatbot can hand over to a real person, so it’s the best of both worlds.

EPoS

The right EPoS system will make your daily operations run smoother, improve customer experience, and help reduce tedious or admin-heavy tasks. If they’re built specifically with the charity sector in mind, even better; you can get even more out of them. 

Some systems are designed to help with Gift Aid, making it quicker and easier for people to register, which can increase revenue by as much as 25%. Many points of sale systems also have a built-in CRM, which lets you capture the customer’s details for reasons other than Gift Aid, such as loyalty schemes.

Apps

Apps can be helpful to customers, providing them with important information and telling them how they can donate. But apps can also help staff. Some charities have been using apps to streamline operations, helping employees and volunteers with administrative tasks. 

A good example being Age UK with their app “Steps”. The app helps staff and volunteers have deeper, more human conversations with older people. It allows them to take notes and create sharable action plans. Steps helps to streamline processes that might otherwise take a lot of time. And most importantly, it’s able to do this without eliminating any of the human touch we’ve come to expect from charitable causes. 

Social media

Social media is everywhere. Whether it’s “I saw that on Facebook” or “ I heard from LinkedIn”, everyone seems to have their finger on the pulse with social media. And this should include the charity sector. With billions of active users, and one of the most cost-effective platforms for widespread communication, it’s no surprise that charities are taking to social channels to tell the world about what they do, how they do it, and how people can help.

Tech has a lot to ways to boost efficiency, both for staff and volunteers, as well as donors and customers. 75% of staff and volunteers in the charity sector believe changes in technology could affect their workplace and organisation in a positive way. If this stat and Age UK’s successful digital transformation is anything to go by, perhaps it’s time we saw even more tech in the charity retail space. 

With almost thirty years of experience, Nisyst provides a bespoke HMRC-recognised EPoS system. If you’d like more information, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

EPoS system

With lockdown restrictions leading to a decrease in cash flow, the coronavirus pandemic has been causing some very real concerns for the charity sector. But with the vaccine rolling out at an impressive rate, a post-lockdown country is on the horizon. So how can the charity sector get back on its feet as we shift back to normalcy?

The solution is right under your nose. Why not make your EPoS system work for you in new, innovative ways? They’re fast, efficient, improve customer service, and can eliminate tedious tasks like stock management. But with more systems out there than ever before, how do you know which to choose? Here are three qualities to look out for when choosing an EPoS system for your charity shop.

Ease of use

Everyone on your team will have their own unique skills and experience. So while they might be brilliant with customers, you can’t guarantee they’re as adept when it comes to technology. Your EPoS solution should be as user friendly as possible.

Since you might cycle through a large number of volunteers, you want your systems to be simple and straightforward – easy to pick up straight away. Some companies even offer training when setting up so you can be sure your staff and volunteers are confident getting started.

Gift Aid software

Gift Aid is a significant and essential stream of revenue for many charities. But it’s a complicated process that leads to many Gift Aid donations going unclaimed. That’s why some EPoS systems integrate it into the usual buying process. 

They streamline HMRC communications and audits. The problem with many EPoS systems is that they are designed for general retail or hospitality use. They don’t take charities into consideration and therefore won’t account for the extra admin associated with Gift Aid. An EPoS system designed with charities in mind will remove that unnecessary admin and maximise how much you claim.

Offline use

Unfortunately, some EPoS systems won’t work when the internet connection is unstable, slow, or just outright refusing to cooperate. These online EPoS systems are entirely cloud-based and need an internet connection to work. Then there are hybrid EPoS systems which store data partially on the cloud and partially on the hard drive. 

Hybrids can continue to work when the internet goes down, but sometimes with reduced function. Check which of a potential EPoS system’s functions will work offline and whether this is complementary to the daily operations of your business. Certain systems won’t let you log back in, some systems will let you go as far as a payment. It’s important to know how much you can do with no internet connection when considering your options.

With most of the systems out there being created for use in retail, finding the right EPoS solution in the charity sector can be tricky. And with all the various bells and whistles of each, it might feel overwhelming trying to decide which is the best system for you. But always consider what you want in your charity EPoS system, because the right fit is out there for you.

Nisyst’s bespoke EPoS system, CHARiot, is designed specifically for charity retail. Our HMRC-recognised system is affordable, adaptable, and user friendly. For more information, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

The Charity Retail Association has announced today that, following a competitive tender for the delivery of their Retail Gift Aid training courses, corporate member Nisyst has been appointed to deliver these in 2020.

Dave Chunilal, Technical Director said, “Nisyst is delighted to be selected as the Charity Retail Association’s Accredited Training Provider. As an organisation we have more than 27 years’ experience of developing EPoS systems for the retail and charity sector, as well as extensive experience of delivering training and support to charity retailers. Our close working relationship with HMRC ensures that our team are at the forefront of knowing what’s expected of charity retailers, and how systems can be set up to minimize the administrative burden and maximise the Retail Gift Aid revenues for charities.

“We’re very much looking forward to working with CRA members to improve and develop their understanding of how their retail systems can make a significant difference to both their productivity and efficiency as a business, as well as that all-important difference to their gift aid revenue claims, enabling charities to do even more good work.”

Robin Osterley, Charity Retail Association Chief Executive said, “We’re very much looking forward to working with Nisyst on our next round of Retail Gift Aid training. They are a very experienced supplier with good links to HMRC and we are confident that our members will continue to get a course that is both comprehensive and well informed.”

Further information about Nisyst can be found at www.charityretailsystems.co.uk

Details and dates for the CRA’s 2020 Retail Gift Aid training courses will be announced shortly.

Nisyst, the Bolton based multi-award-winning developer of charity retail ePoS software (electronic point of sale) CHARiot, has launched a series of new software modules designed to help charity retailers extend and grow their marketplace easily and while also making their internal processes easier and more resource efficient.

The two new modules open up charity retailers to eBay as a channel to market, and the second, a single scan barcode functionality, gives charity retailers additional peace of mind when processing HMRC’s Gift Aid reclaims. Gift Aid is worth an estimated to be worth over £48 million to the charity retail industry according to publisher Charity Finance in their latest annual Charity Shops Survey.

The new integrated eBay link has been developed in response to demands from charity retailers to help them more easily tap into the eBay online marketplace which has 23 million unique visitors in the UK and Ireland every month and is a growing channel for the industry. The new software solution, which is now available to all of Nisyst’s CHARiot software users, enables retailers to immediately reach eBay’s marketplace of 23 million users with minimal resource investment.

Dave Chunilal, Technical Director of Nisyst, explained:

“Nisyst prides itself on continually improving our CHARiot EPoS system and, thanks to an open and collaborative approach to working with our clients, their valuable input has led to these new developments. Managing retail via eBay can be a very time consuming and a resource intensive process, with head offices needing to keep manual records of Gift Aid and manually trace those records back to the respective shops where the donations were made. Our new integrated link automates all these processes for charities and enables them to sell on eBay at either shops or their head office. Unique barcodes allow gift aid to be fully auditable by HMRC, freeing up our customers to maximise the retail value of their stock donations, use their resources appropriately while also maintaining maximum control over any Gift Aid on donated goods.”

The second module, Single Scan Barcode, offers charity retail teams heightened levels of control and accuracy when pricing stock and processing gift aid, as well as stock management information on donated and non-donated sites. Charity gift aid claims are an important revenue stream for charity retailers and Nisyst’s technology has been designed, working in conjunction with HMRC.

Dave continued:

“The single scan barcode offers even tighter control on managing stock donations, with both modules making processes easier and more efficient for both shops and head offices. The other major benefit of the single scan barcode is the ease of use at the point of purchase, along with the speed of through-put which further enhances the customer experience. Nisyst is committed to delivering software solutions that makes the day to day working lives of volunteers and charities easier, while also delivering tight commercial control and efficiency to the charitable organisations and hospices so that they can use their limited resources as wisely as possible.”

Both new modules are now live on Nisyst’s CHARiot EPoS system.

For more information on CHARiot, visit www.charityretailsystems.co.uk

As discussed in one of our previous blogs Alternative Online Donation Platforms for Charities, the digital world is a huge part of our daily lives and is one of the main forms of communication. As digitization increases, companies are constantly growing due to developments in technology which allows them to produce more innovative concepts for the charity sector.

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Charities aim to reach as many people as possible, to provide aid and assistance. Young people all around the UK need help from charities, and Nominet Trust has brought this to their attention. Nominet Trust, the tech for good funder, has announced the launch of its Digital Reach Programme – a pioneering initiative developed to support the UKs efforts to increase digital skills amongst some of the UKs most disadvantaged young people.

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Myton Hospice, which provides a range of services for terminally ill patients and their loved ones, has upgraded its in-store electronic point of sale (EPoS) and gift aid systems with a solution from Nisyst, specialist charity solutions provider.

Myton Hospice shop in Henley

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Leading charity software solutions provider, Nisyst, has launched QBuster, an app for charity retailers aimed at reducing queues at till points, increasing in-store efficiencies and boosting revenue and gift aid. Read more

Donating money to charities helps the running of many businesses and shops, creating a more profitable and efficient operation. It can often be a slow process, but with this in mind, Charity Digital News has reported an application that makes it easier to donate money to charity, which has won first place at Microsoft’s ‘Imagine Cup’ final. Below, we can take a look how this will be useful for helping charities. Read more

Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) specialist, Nisyst has rolled out its market-leading charity retail EPoS system into retail shops of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

The CHARiot system has been installed in six of the Belfast-based charity’s shops and Head Office. Cancer Focus NI has moved to the CHARiot system with aim of increasing its Gift Aid, having previously used a manual till system.

Cancer Focus NI
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