We’re all familiar with the uphill battle faced by charity shops over the past few months. They have the massive task of attempting to catch up with almost a whole year of forced downtime and upping productivity again.

Now’s the time where the sector has to roll up its sleeves, optimise how it works, and secure as many donations and as much revenue as possible. But there will always be those little tasks that eat into your time. Time that could otherwise be spent boosting revenue.

This period of recovery is a great opportunity to tighten your operation and make some changes to help you recover and thrive for years to come. Let’s look at 3 factors that might be stealing away some of your charity’s time and productivity.

A lack of remote capabilities

You and your staff won’t always be in-store and able to access your systems. But that shouldn’t stop you doing your job. Perhaps you’re a manager who spends multiple hours each week travelling around the different stores in your area. Or you have volunteers collecting donations at a car boot sale in the middle of a field. Remote capabilities allow your staff and volunteers to continue doing their jobs no matter where they are. 

Mobile dashboards can provide managers with operational and sales information on any compatible device, meaning they can monitor store and area performance in real time and on the move. Remote Gift Aid sign ups allow volunteers to secure that extra bit of revenue. Without the need to hunt down an internet connection.

Inadequate stock control

Across retail businesses, inventory is accurate only 63% of the time. Unfortunately, this trend will extend to charity retail, too. Meaning you might be making important stock decisions based on inaccurate information.

Improving real-time visibility of your stock will help to streamline your operations and keep your shop running smoothly. With the right system in place, you can track transfers throughout their journey, preparing for new stock to arrive. If you balance in-store and online channels, you can minimise the risk of accepting online orders you can’t fulfil. Or you can use estimated stock analysis to determine how much stock you will need over the coming days and plan deliveries accordingly.

To secure as much revenue as possible, you need to have stock to sell. So maybe it’s time to develop a more robust, accurate inventory system.

System vulnerabilities

What your charity doesn’t want is a security breach throwing a spanner in the works of your recovery plans. 26% of charities report having a cyber breach in the past year – a scarily high number.

But rather than hoping for the best, waiting to react to a cyber attack, why not be proactive and reduce your risk before they can strike? Vulnerability assessments will highlight any flaws in your existing systems and infrastructure, helping you reduce your risk and keep your organisation more secure. They can also be valuable at quantifying different risks, helping you to prioritise investment in new systems according to a risk/benefit analysis.

To continue operating at your best, you want your operational, sales, customer, donor, and staff information to be as safe and secure as possible.

While these 3 issues might not seem like end-of-the-world problems, all that forced downtime or missed revenue adds up. Any way you can tighten up your internal processes will do amazing things for your charity and its cause.

CHARiot is a feature-rich EPoS system that can make your charity retail operation more efficient and profitable in no time. Remote capabilities, accurate, real-time inventory management, and minimising system vulnerabilities are just a few of the ways we can help. To find out more, call us on 01204 706 000.

After the pandemic kept us all locked away for over a year, we’re back in action. And soon, we’ll return to as close to normal as we’ll ever be. For a charity shop like yours, who suffered the brunt of the economic damage, this is a crucial time – one you’ve no doubt all been waiting for.

But being closed for so long inevitably means you’ll have lots of work now your doors are open again. A flood of donations to organise. Customers to serve. COVID regulations to adhere to. We think tech can be your secret tool to help you stay productive. After all, the average UK employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes in a working day. Here are our four tips for staying on top of your game and delivering your best – and the tech you need to do it.

Keep communication clear

Clear and consistent communication is probably the easiest way to keep your charity shop productive. And it can have amazing results. Improving team communication can actually increase productivity by up to 25%

So how do we use technology to keep communication effective? While you always have email, instant messaging apps are a great way to get the message out immediately. You could opt for a popular one like WhatsApp, or go for something designed more for business, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. With the latter two, you can share files and messages all in one place so your team isn’t bouncing between email, text, and whatever else you might use. The key is to keep it as simple as possible.

Train staff regularly

Your team will be much more productive if they’re trained on how to use important systems. With regular training, your staff will be able to do certain tasks themselves instead of having to wait for a senior team member to complete it for them. This could include paperwork or more complicated administrative work.

While it’s best to train staff on your specific systems, they can learn other important skills too. There are thousands of online videos and courses dedicated entirely to upskilling and essential workplace skills. Your staff can stay productive and also develop skills that could benefit your shop in the future. If you’re looking to move into the 21st century and modernise your offering, it might prove key to have these employees in your back pocket.

Reduce error where possible

Mistakes happen. Sometimes it can’t be helped, and it isn’t always your staff’s fault. So to keep your shop productive, give them the tools to reduce as much error as they can. EPoS systems can do much of the heavy lifting nowadays. Need to calculate total prices and change? It does that. Need an accurate stock count? It can do that too. At the end of the day, do you need a sales report? Simple.

The less mental strain on your staff having to track all of this themselves, the better they can carry out other duties. They can provide a better service to customers. They can make more sales. And if you use a system with Gift Aid integration, you can even draw as much money for your cause as possible.

Stay organised

Being organised is crucial to productivity. If your staff don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing that day, how can you possibly expect them to be productive? You can’t have one without the other. 

Technology can help us organise our day to day. With just a few clicks, you can add important dates to your calendar or create a to-do list on an app that helps you keep track of what needs doing and when. Monday.com is a great example. You can set tasks and assign each to specific members of your team with dates for when each task needs to be completed.

Productivity is essential for any charity shop and is something we should always be working to improve. And with so much tech out there, it only makes sense to take advantage of it. More than that, it means you can do more good for your cause and change more lives.

Looking to streamline your shop’s operations? Our bespoke EPoS system gives you complete oversight of all operations, with hundreds of management reporting options as standard. Keep your shop productive and doing its best. To talk about your EPoS needs, get in touch with us on 01204 706 000.

As you might have heard, PoSReady 7 OS, the operating system used in most tills, is approaching its end of life (EoL). This basically means that in October 2021, the vendor will stop delivering support services for the product. 

So what does this mean for your charity? Simply put, this could cause some serious disruption to your day-to-day operations, and it’s why many charities are now considering an operating system upgrade. But let’s look at it in more detail…

PCI compliance

Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is essential for your charity. This compliance is mandated by the contracts you sign with the card brands and banks that handle your charity’s payment processing

As the PCI DSS says: “Protect all system components and software from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches. Install critical security patches within one month of release.”

Old operating systems, such as the PoSReady 7, may no longer be supported by vendors. Operating systems that aren’t supported won’t have access to software patches. This means you won’t be able to continue using the software while remaining PCI compliant. Failure to be PCI compliant can result in fines, which can be as high as £60,000.

Security

Even the systems with the best cyber security solutions can be subject to sophisticated cyber attacks. A data breach occurring on an EoL operating system could result in disciplinary action or fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office. GDPR states data must be handled securely by means of “appropriate technical and organisational measures”, which means an obsolete system may be considered neglectful or careless.

No more updates means the system won’t be at its safest. Even if any vulnerabilities are found, there will be no patches to offer further security. As well as this, older systems are less likely to be supported by other programs, which may include your antivirus software. And antivirus solutions might not be the only third-party solution that your charity relies on.

Lack of support from third-party vendors 

Integrated payment providers connect the payment processing function of your business with other vital systems like CRM, accounting, and payroll. But by making the decision to continue to use an EoL operating system, you could lose your integrated payment providers as they’re unlikely to want to continue to support their solution on an EoL system. But they are key to your operations, so losing your provider could be a huge blow to your charity. 

You also need to be careful with remote support software. This allows a technician to connect to a device from anywhere in the world to help with any issues, support, or installing important updates for the system. Remote control products can create security concerns if not configured or used in a secure manner, so you want to be sure they will be supported.

PoSReady 7 OS is on its way out. While you could continue to use it, it may cause you more problems down the line. Now might be the time to seek a new PoS operating system for your charity to keep operations at their best.

With over 30 years of experience at the forefront of the UK charity tech scene, Charity Retail Systems has developed an innovative, HMRC-recognised EPoS system to take your charity to the next level. If you’d like to find out more, call us today on 01204 706000.

(Click each charity title to be taken directly to the charities online shop).

What better way to spread that festive feeling than with a beautifully designed set of Christmas cards?

Our charities have each produced a set of thoughtful cards that are sure to put a smile on your loved one’s face. Better yet, you can be safe in the knowledge that your purchase will help someone else this Christmas and spread that joy even further.

First on the list is (Christmas drum roll please) the Great Western Air Ambulance.

Great Western Air Ambulance

Overall, 2.1 million people receive critical care and air ambulance service from the GWAAC.

Yet, as a charity that relies on the generosity of donations, GWAAC needs to raise over £4 million each year to stay operational.

From the gentle fall of glistening snow to snuggly Christmas jumpers, GWAAC offers a selection of heart-warming cards.

St Catherine’s

St Catherine’s care for patients and families affected by life-shortening conditions like cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure across Chorley, Preston and South Ribble.

Traditional Christmas scenes fill the front covers of St Catherine’s Christmas cards. A snowman wrapped warm stands in a field filled with woodland creatures reminding you of childhood memories, or you can find a lone Christmas tree bright for all to see.

St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice

This is a charity that focuses on caring for others. Whether you need symptom control, end of life care or complementary therapies, you will be coming to a positive environment with professionals who support your individual needs.

They also offer a twenty-four hour helpline with a qualified nurse or doctor to answer any of your palliative care queries.

Wales Air Ambulance

Wales Air Ambulance is ready to save lives with A&E services delivered straight to the patient. On-board critical care consultants and practitioners provide advanced care before a patient even reaches the hospital.

The WAAC rely on the support of the people of Wales to raise £6.5 million every year. This keeps the helicopters in the air and allows the charity to save the lives of people in Wales.

Trinity Hospice

The vision of Trinity Hospice is to give everyone on the Fylde Coast access to high quality end of life care. Whether this is in the hospice, the hospital, residential nursing home or family home.

Most importantly, the hospice focuses on the positive aspects of providing patients with relief from symptoms, pain and stress of serious illnesses.

The Children’s Society

For one hundred and forty years, The Children’s Society has worked to transform the hopes and happiness of young people facing abuse, exploitation and neglect. They support children through their most serious life challenges and campaign for the social changes that will improve the lives of those who need hope most.

A fun yet festive selection of Christmas cards can be found below.

Keech Hospice Care

Keech Hospice provides excellent specialist care to support adults and children to live pain and symptom-free for those who have life-limiting and terminal illnesses.

Their aim is to provide a peaceful environment for patients to help them stay out of hospital and make the most of the time they have.

Shelter

Shelter help millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support and legal services.

Until the day everyone has a safe place to call home, they are here to support those fighting for a place to call their own.

Queenscourt Hospice

Queenscourt Hospice provides free, high-quality care for patients with advanced, progressive and incurable illnesses to help them achieve the best quality of life.

It costs over £400 an hour, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year to keep Queenscourt running, which is why community support and donations are vital.

96p of every £1 donated is spent on providing and supporting direct patient care.

Demelza

Demelza has provided care to terminally ill children and young people since 1998. It is through the generosity of others that they can continue to be there for young people and their families for years to come.

Hospice of the Good Shepherd

The Hospice of the Good Shepherd, care for those with a life-limiting illness based in Cheshire West, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Deeside.

However, less than a third of their £4 million annual running costs come from government funding. The rest has to be found through fundraising, donations, events and corporate partnerships.

Their Christmas card selection can be found below featuring beautiful cheery colours.

St Gemma’s

This hospice supports local people in Leeds with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.

100% of profits from their charity Christmas cards support patients at St Gemma’s Hospice, which is also the largest hospice in Yorkshire and one of the largest in the UK.

Willow Wood Hospice

This year Willow Wood Hospice celebrates twenty-one years of serving the communities of Tameside and Glossop. Willow Wood provides the highest standards of care to those with a life-limiting illness.

Springhill Hospice

Founded in 1989, Springhill Hospice is a sixteen bedded purpose-built facility offering specialist palliative care.

Springhill receives support from the people of Rochdale and the surrounding areas, but to keep their doors open they also rely on the generosity of donators and supporters. In total, they need to raise £7,500 per day.

St David’s Hospice

St David’s Hospice is a local charity, caring for local people twenty-four hours a day, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. It delivers specialist care to adults with advanced illnesses or who those who need end of life care.

Over £4 million each year is needed to deliver patient care, bereavement and counselling services, as well as symptom control, respite and end of life care – that is over £9,000 a day.

The majority comes from community fundraising, but St David’s does not charge its patients, families or carers because its services are free to all.

Buying just one set of cards from your local charity this year will go a long way to helping someone who needs it most. Most importantly, it will help to spread some much needed joy to a loved one who may have been isolated this year.

To find out more about how we can help you, give us a call on 01201 706 000 for a free consultation.

 

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.

Working in charity retail, one of the biggest and, sometimes, most frustrating challenges we face is tackling the paperwork involved in registering donors and the sometimes tediously long queues they have to endure at the till to make a Gift Aid declaration. All they came into the shop to do was kindly drop off some bags of clothes but, for charities to ensure they get the most out of that donation, the processes required in getting there could put some people off repeating charitable acts.  

Nisyst, the developer of charity retail ePoS software CHARiot, has created a mobile app to solve this very challenge.

Available to CHARiot users, QBuster is an app which is genius in its simplicity. Removing all the complications which come with standard donor forms, QBuster can be used anywhere in the shop – allowing you to be on the move and take the pressure away from the till point when people arrive with donations.

Sound good? The ability to accept donations and optimise Gift Aid contributions from anywhere in the store alone sounds great, but there’s plenty more ways this new app could be making a difference to charity retailers. What other challenges on the shop floor can the QBuster literally bust?

  1. It’s all digital

The app delivers an integrated postcode lookup as well as replacing standard donor forms with a digital donor form and can register donor signatures which means its all much more streamlined and easy for you, the charity retailer, and your customers to complete a donation quickly and effectively meaning all Gift Aid opportunities can be maxmised. It’s completely paperless too and everything is stored all in one place – the app. Think of all those trees you’ll be saving!

  • It’s secure

Any data recorded on the app is automatically transmitted to the till using industry standard encryption to make sure the information is completely secure. The digital forms used on the app can be customised to feature your branding which will give additional peace of mind to donors when you capture their details on the shop floor.

  • The app loves generating reports

And we love a good report! For example, QBuster can monitor non-Gift Aid donations and provide information on how they compare to the Gift-Aided items. It can also process donations from existing customers allowing you to update their details or retrieve a suspended donor declaration from the app no matter where you are in the shop.

  • The bag is literally just a bag drop

Donors want to be able to drop their donations off quickly and don’t always want to hang around. QBuster is literally busting that queue as the app provides quick and easy bag drop processing functionality.

  • You can capture Gift Aid on Rags

CHARiot is actually the first HMRC recognised solution for processing Gift Aid on Rags in the sector and the app includes this functionality from anywhere in the store.

  • Customers and donors will feel the benefits

From your perspective, QBuster will make both you and your team more efficient, but, most importantly, people coming into your shop will have an improved shopping experience. Donors may never need to stand in a till queue again with the QBuster app.

As a charity, being able to collect Gift Aid is a significant revenue stream for retailers. An extra 25 pence for every pound donated can be claimed through Gift Aid which is estimated to be worth over £48 million to the charity retail industry according to Charity Finance in their most recent annual Charity Shops Survey.
The three most important things charity retailers want to achieve when processing Gift Aid are:

  1. Control and accuracy
  2. Ease of use
  3. Optimise revenue

Sadly, this is not always easily delivered for many charity retailers. Sometimes paper driven, inconsistent or slower processes can result in customers or those making donations being put off and, ultimately a loss in that all-important Gift Aid revenue stream.
When we are talking about millions of pounds worth of potential charity revenue, retail teams want to know that Gift Aid is being captured accurately and efficiently. This control can be found in a new single scan barcode software module created by Bolton-based retail software developers and Charity Retail Association members, Nisyst.
These multi-award-winning technology wizards are the brains behind charity retail ePoS software CHARiot and have collaborated with their charity retail clients to tackle the big challenges facing the industry, developing an innovative and more streamlined way to capture Gift Aid to ensure not a single penny is missed.
“We designed this new functionality in conjunction with HMRC and our charity retail clients so we’re 100% confident that our charity clients can be sure they’re getting the most out of Gift Aid contributions and HMRC can be 100% confident that all the claims are correct,” Dave Chunilal, Technical Director of Nisyst, explained.
“The most important part for us has been creating a software that made the day to day working life of volunteers easier which, at the same time, offers pinpoint accuracy and tighter control for retailers when processing any Gift Aid. Our Single Scan Barcode update does just that, and our clients’ retail teams already love it.”
It’s not just about driving an improvement to their customer’s bottom line for Dave and his technical team. They also value the importance of putting people at the heart of their service. “We have always measured the success of our service by how happy our clients are,” Dave continued. “Offering hands-on in-house support 7 days a week is something that our clients really appreciate and which we are more than happy to deliver. Even those who avoid new technology at all costs can be provided with user-friendly training so everyone on the shop floor can get the most out of the software.”

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

The online world plays a huge role in how businesses and charities work today, especially within the retail industry. With the industry being so vast, it is important retailers display strong cyber security and data privacy capabilities.

Recent research shows organisations who invest in cyber security sell more, which is an obvious advantage to these businesses. As a provider of EPoS Ecommerce solutions for both retail and online stores, we at Nisyst understand the importance of cyber security. So, how is cyber security benefitting organisations?

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We’re only halfway through 2018 but it has been an exciting year already for the charity sector, which continues to raise money for valuable aid and help those in need. It is a known fact; charities have many diverse ways of raising funds and consequently providing help for others. However, challenges, from time to time, still arise.

To alleviate the margin for failure, it is important that charities are aware of the challenges that they may face, and at the same time must understand ways they can overcome these. Charity organisations, whether they are big or small, are used to dealing with complex and important responsibilities daily.

Although 2018 is a year of opportunities, there will still be challenges that various charities will have to face.

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