Gift Aid is crucial to many noble and hardworking charities and our EPoS system helps to maximise the revenue that can be used for those most in need.

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 particular 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.

Now more than ever, charities need that extra boost after being told to shut their stores during lockdown. The best way to get that boost? Gift Aid. Sometimes thought to be a complicated process, but it does not have to be. An increasing number of charities are investing in Retail Gift Aid systems that can automate much of the process for you.

A Retail Gift Aid system could come in handy when you are serving a customer who selects a Gift Aided item. A barcode label could be placed on the item so that it can be scanned in seconds. Your system could then recognise that your item has been sold and if it is Gift Aided, track and log the sale back to the original donor. This means that your charity is less likely to miss out on Gift Aid as you will not have to write it down, which is easy to forget when you are extra busy.

Due to the accuracy of barcode scanners, it is less likely mistakes will be made. Plus, you could operate multiple selling channels such as donated goods in-store, online, or eBay, while still capturing Gift Aid revenue.

What we offer:

EPoS Systems that maximise Gift Aid

Nisyst also offer a single scan barcode which could speed up the selling process. Specific barcodes could be created so that when you scan them the system automatically knows what the item is and who donated it. If the item is scanned more than once, the system will prevent Gift Aid from being overclaimed.

Additionally, the single scan barcode could potentially reduce the chances of fraud. As the label says what the item is, if it was placed on another item, the system would tell you what the correct item is on the screen.

Green Glass Globe in Hand

Our software could also help Gift Aid from recycled products such as rags. The system has the option of allowing a user to record rags in kilos against a donors record while logging the sale through and allowing you to report of this later.

Gift Aid is now quicker and easier to collect, according to Haven Hospices CEO Trevor Johnson, who invested in our CHARiot software who said that, “Within a week, our volunteers said it was the best thing we’d ever done for the charity. The new Gift Aid process with full scan code in particular has been a game changer for us.”

You can find the case study here:


Updated: 26/10/2020

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

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


Wales Air Ambulance relies entirely on the public’s support to raise £6.5million annually in order to continue running its four aircrafts and saving lives. Its 16 shops are a vital part of this fundraising effort but in a bid to generate more revenue, the charity recently rolled-out CHARiot, Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) system by Nisyst, in its stores. Read more

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.

Read more

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 store Read more

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.

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,

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 and follow Nisyst on Twitter – @NisystEPoS

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 led 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