With charity shops recently becoming more popular than ever, it’s not surprising that a lot more people are beginning to realise that it’s a brilliant way to increase donations and raise awareness for their charity. However, charity shop owners are constantly thinking about different ways that they can raise the bar and bring in even more funds.

Do you know how you can make the most of your donations and make more money for your charity? Here are some of our very best top tips to help you out.

Money - iStock_000040411568_Medium

Getting Your Window Display Spot On

It’s important that the window display of your charity shop is perfect, as this will be people’s first impression of your store. The aim is to get customers into the shop; therefore you need to attract them by having a brilliant and attractive window design. As well as bringing in more customers; you also want to attract donors and volunteers.

It should be smart and not overcrowded, and everything should be clearly priced. It’s a good idea to make your display seasonal – so it should be changed regularly to fit in with different periods and times of the year. We also think that a display should be colourful so that it’s more likely to grab attention.

Create an Online Store

A good way of making money for your charity is to create an online store where you can sell all of your high value goods. A lot of charities, whether they are big or small, have found a number of benefits in starting an online shop. The main thing is that it reaches a wider audience, as it’s accessible to people outside of your local area. It also allows you to raise more awareness for your charity and therefore hopefully raise more money. You can also target specific audiences if the products that you are selling are specialist items.

Designer modern home office desk with laptop

Use Gift Aid

Gift Aid is a brilliant way of raising money for charity without actually paying any more money. Your customers can choose to add Gift Aid to their donations/purchases, as long as they pay income tax. They fill in a short declaration that confirms they pay this, and then 25% more value is added to their donation which can then be claimed by the charity.

Here at Charity Retail Systems, our charity EPoS system makes collecting Gift Aid really easy for you. It has an automated system which processes Gift Aid easier and makes sure that charities benefit from it a lot quicker.

If you would like more information on how you can use one of our systems in your store, please just get in touch. You can give us a call on 01204 706 000 and a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions.

All retail shops are designed in a specific way that helps to increase profits and prevent stock loss. Making money is the most important factor for a shop, so the store layout must be planned in a way that makes customers want to come in and spend money – something that is extremely important when competing with other stores in the area.

The way that a shop looks should be both practical and aesthetically pleasing, so that it attracts customers whilst still protecting your store from theft.

As a company who specialises in charity retail systems, we have seen many different store layouts over the years. Therefore, we thought we would share some layout secrets from some of the most successful charity stores that we have worked with.

Group Of Young Friends Shopping In Mall Together


Your Window Displays Matter

Before customers even enter your store, the first impression they get about your business is from what they see in your windows. This can be make or break for a customer – if they like something, they will come in. A smart window display will attract customers, but it might also catch the attention of donors and volunteers. The stock that you display in your window should be seasonal, so it must be changed often to fit in with different events and periods throughout the year. Window displays should also be clearly priced – a good price will make people want to come in.

Give Your Biggest Sellers More Space on The Floor

All retail stores, whether it’s a charity store or not, will have their best sellers. These are the items that are sold on a frequent basis, or are the items that more customers come in and look for. Typically, this will be books or clothes in an average charity shop – these always sell really well. Once you have indentified what your best sellers are, you should make sure that they have the most space on the shop floor. They should be in a place that is seen easily, accessible and attractively displayed.

Position Your Counter Where You Can See Most of The Shop


Charity shops often only have a few volunteers working in there at a time, which means that it’s important that your checkout counter is positioned so that you can see most of your stock when stuck behind the till.  For security reasons, you shouldn’t put it too close to the door. You should place your items that are more expensive near the tills, therefore you will spot any theft that may happen (and sadly it does).

Think About What You Place Around Your Checkout

Stock that is placed around your checkout should be things that might persuade waiting customers to make an impulse buy. These are usually small and low cost products, that potentially could of been overlooked whilst browsing in the rest of the shop. These items should be clearly priced, as the low price might provide tempting for those waiting to be served.

The woman pays off in a boutique

Are you thinking of starting up your own charity shop? We can help you find the perfect retail system for your store. We work with hundreds of local and national charities, and we don’t take a penny from any of the sales that you make. We give full training on using our systems, so you can be assured that you’re getting the best possible help.

For more information on EPoS systems, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can give us a call on 01204 706 000 and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Retail shops need to stay up to date with the latest technologies to innovate, and charity shops are no different. Mobile offers a whole new way to connect with people, but most charity retail shops are slow to take advantage of this. Most people in the UK have a mobile, and very few spend more than a couple of hours per day out of reach of it so it is no surprise that businesses are using this channel to their advantage. To help you capitalise on this technology too, we’re going to outline some of the biggest reasons charities need to be using mobile today.


Donors Have the Freedom to Donate When They Want To

Usually when a person is asked to donate to a charity, they are either in store or in the street. Although these methods have some success, they force the individual to make a decision on the spot and most people don’t like this. Many services allow charities to receive donations through texting, or via apps, and this gives people the chance to make the decision in their own time and donate when they like. This increases the chances that the individual will make a donation.

More People Can Be Reached

Not everyone can be reached through canvassing, and some people don’t shop in charity shops. People who are housebound, can’t shop during normal hours or are from out of the area can’t be reached through these methods. Mobile allows you to connect with these people that would otherwise not have been reached.

Mobile Doesn’t Cost Much

Having people in the street canvassing isn’t free, and the costs add up. In contrast, mobile is a lot cheaper to set up and maintain so will save you money that you could be putting to better use elsewhere.

Donors Can Stay Up-To-Date

When an individual donates in store or on the street, the donor rarely stays connected with the charity to find out how their donation made a difference. Mobile allows people to follow the progress of a charity and see the good work they are doing. Not only does this make donors feel better about their donations, it also increases the chances that they’ll donate again and tell others about the charity.


Hopefully you’ll now have some ideas about what mobile can do for your charity and how you can benefit from implementing it into your marketing strategy.

If you are looking to invest in other areas of your charity shop you may consider improving your charity retail systems. If this is something you are interested in doing, don’t hesitate to contact us on 01204 706 000 or head over to our website where you can book a demo of the CHARiot system.

Retail has evolved over the years due to the introduction of digital inputs – something that has become a central part of the everyday shopping experience. This hasn’t be something that has escaped the notice of charity retail shops, and slowly they are beginning to embrace the online world.

Do you know how charity retail stores can introduce the world of digital to their business in a way that benefits them? Read on to find out what we think!


Use social media to gain support

Charity stores have to work harder than ever to stay ahead, so that customers are still interested in coming to the store. In a economic climate that is now dominated by online stores, they have started to catch up.

The aim of a charity shop is to get people to come in and spend money, so that there can be an increase in donations. This is where social media can be a fantastic platform to make this happen. You can do this by posting on Facebook or Twitter that you need donations, or that you need volunteers. It’s also a good place to advertise things that you have in store that you think people would be interested in buying.

People who have used social media to advertise and promote their stores have seen a positive increase in donations and visitors to the shop.

Get inspiration and ideas from people online

Recently, we have seen a number of growing online trends that have been happening in the name of charity. Just last year, we had the #nomakeupselfie which was when women from all over took a picture of themselves with no makeup on, uploaded it to social media and then donated money to charity. This in returned spurned a lot more woman into doing the same thing, and amazingly around £8 million pound was raised for cancer research in just 6 days.

This shows what a brilliant impact that the online world can have, and how it can make a difference. We suggest asking for suggestions on fundraising ideas online, you could find an idea that you hadn’t even thought of.

Interacting with the people online who care about your charity, and inviting them to get involved, helps you set up lasting relationships with people who are likely then to bring in more donations to your store.

Gadgets everywhere

Sell products online

Your store is important, and we are in no way suggesting that this should replace that. In fact, having an online store alongside your shop can help boost sales inside the shop. With more people staying at home and looking online for stuff these days, you would benefit from having a website that people can view. Whether you choose to sell stuff on here, or just advertise what you have in store, is totally up to you. This is harder when you are a shop that is selling single items, but there is definitely a way to implement an online system  – especially for vintage items.

Embrace technology in your store

Dealing with lots of pieces of paper is a thing of the past, and it’s important that charity retail shops adopt the more modern technology options. By using a high quality and up to date retail system, you will be able to generate more business in your store. These systems are easy to use, and will help you keep track of your stock without having to worry about writing it all down.

Designer modern home office desk with laptop

We hope that this post has given you some insight into the ever growing digital and online world, and helped you see how charity retail shops can really benefit from these changes.

Please contact us if you are interesting in investing in one of our charity retail systems, or if you have any questions. You can call us on 01204 706 000 and a member of staff will be happy to help you out.


Some people love to shop; it’s their natural state. They adore spending hours casually making their way down the main street, diving into small side shops and wading through the crowds to get to the high street stores. This particular species of human being loves to wade through a clothes rack, digging through piles of shirts and trousers, searching for the very best value for money.

The other species of human being is known as the non-shopper. These people will shop when forced to do so, but prefer to steer clear of the stores as much as possible. When they do shop – and trust us they do – they prefer looking through racks and hangers they can easily see. Digging through a jumble sale of clothes isn’t their idea of fun and, in order to entice and please these reluctant shoppers you need to look at how you lay out your charity shop.

Town Shopping -- iStock_000044431502_Medium

Charity shops have a name for themselves as being a bit of a jumble sale. With t-shirts thrown in with skirts and dresses hung up alongside coats, it can become a bit of a chore having to dig through the mass of donated clothing.

From using a specialised charity EPoS system to designing window displays and clothes organisation, here are a couple of tips to help you bring in the buyers!

Rack Organisation

It’s hard to find what you want when you shop; some people go into a store with a very specific item of clothing in mind and never truly find it while others walk into a shop and haven’t a clue what they’re looking for.

If a rack is too crowded and full of everything in the store, certain items may get lost in the frenzy, pushed to the back or sandwiched between two bulky items never to see the light of day again. Organising your racks is imperative when trying to sell your donated goods. After all, if they can’t be seen then they won’t be bought.

  • Clearly indicate which clothes are for women and which are for men.


  • Separate your clothes into groups e.g. dresses, t-shirts, jumpers etc

If you want to, you can also make it easier for your shoppers by organising your clothes into size order.


Tidy Up Wardrobe - iStock_000040767162_Large
De-clutter Your Shop Floor

Health and Safety love a good ol’ rant, so of course you need to make sure that you don’t have stacks of books lined up in front of the fire escape, lining the staircase or framing a doorway. This is a little bit of common sense though, what we really mean is not to over-fill your shop floor.

Some people will love shimmying between clothes rails and boxes full of children’s toys, but this can sometimes seem too confusing and can put people off searching for good buys. Section off areas of your shop for your different items, such as books, toys, jewellery, clothes, shoes, ornaments and so on.

Another option is to keep some of your goods in the back room and replace a bought item with them.


Pile of clothes

Window Display

Bringing customers into your charity shop is your main aim. Some people will quite happily wonder in of their own accord, while others will need a bit more persuading. Your window display will be your selling point.

  • Neatly display outfits that work well together alongside accessories you may have in your store.


  • Use different levels in order to capture the eye. Keeping your entire window display on the same level can seem boring and will more than likely not capture a tired shoppers attention as they trawl the main street

People Walking - iStock_000000547757_Large

Now that your shop is organised and you can see where you’re standing, you’ll want your customers’ great experience to continue from the moment they enter your charity shop to when they come to the checkout. Your charity EPoS system can help you out here too. Our charity Full Scan Mode (FSM) is both employer and volunteer friendly, making it easier for you to use and keep track of your stock. You can contact us on 01204 706 000 to find out more about our EPoS systems as well as getting in contact with our experienced support team if you have any questions about your system.

The retail industry has been hit hard over the past few years, with 14 shops closing every day across the UK in 2011. However, not everyone on the high street has been hit, and charity shops around the country are finally seeing increased footfall and bringing in the money.

Nisyst’s CHARiot is one of the leading charity retail systems in the UK, and as such we are fascinated with how charity shops have become so successful over the past few years. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons why charity shops have become more popular recently, and how you can translate this success to your store.



Vintage is very in fashion now, and more and more people are moving away from the mass-produced clothing found on the high street in favour for second-hand clothing they can find for a much fairer price at a charity shop.

Charity shops are now the home of clothing seen as ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’, as well as giving people access to brands of clothes they may never have been able to buy otherwise.

Of course, the vintage trend doesn’t just transcend to clothing; the shabby chic interior design trend is more popular than ever, and there is no better place to find authentic vintage homeware for a great price than at the local charity shop.


With the cost of living rising each and every year, there is ongoing pressure on people to become thriftier, and what better way to save money than by shopping in the local charity shop?

Clothes, books and other items available in charity shops are far more affordable than they are on the high street, and have the added benefit of all profits going towards a charitable cause.

Thriftiness is trendier than ever before, and this has certainly contributed to the success of charity shops in the past few years.



Purchasing second-hand items from charity shops is seen as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly activity that allows people to make use of items that are still perfectly useable without using up the resources that newly made items require.

Donating clothing and other items to charity also prevents them going to landfill, which is not only an immense waste of resources but is also incredibly bad for the environment.

In our environmentally-conscious society, it is plain to see why people are moving towards charity shops to purchase clothing and other goods.


As you can see, there are several reasons why charity shops have proven to be increasingly popular over the years, and with this increasing popularity, you’ll want to have an efficient retail system in place. The CHARiot system by Nisyst is one of the best charity retail systems in the UK, and by working with us, you can work to make your operations far easier.

For more information or to book a CHARiot demonstration, contact us today by calling 01204 706 000.