When we think of charities and fundraising, we think of traditional methods, like encouraging donations with street volunteers and partaking in events such as bake sales and marathons. But times are changing. Young donors are twice as likely to give to charity via their smartphones than previous generations. 

With the UK still in lockdown and technology developing more each day, there’s been no better time for the charity sector to use tech for fundraising efforts. Here are three ways charities are using technology to boost their fundraising in 2021…

Mobile donations

Only 34% of payments are now made in cash. That’s a dramatic change from 2006, when cash made up 62% of all payments. The convenience of card payments and payment services like Apple Pay is changing the way we spend money. 

As such, Apple Pay donations have been very effective for some of the UK’s biggest charities, a feature that makes it easy for iPhone owners to make a simple one-off donation. Blue Cross found a creative way to use contactless payments with “pat and tap”. They sent out “in the field” dogs who wore coats that had card readers on them, encouraging contactless donations.

Apps like “Share the Meal”, which was released in 2015, are also great for offering donors a simple and quick way to support their favourite charities. The app, launched by the UN’s World Food Programme, was set up so one quick tap could donate 50p, enough to feed a child for a day. The app is still available and the total number of donated meals sits at around 13 million.

New tech 

Almost 29% of Brits own a smart speaker. That’s increased four-fold since 2017. Some of the biggest names in the charity world have already got involved with this technology, such as the NSPCC. Still in early testing, people can respond to ads on their smart speakers to make donations straight away. This is a simple, effective way to use tech for fundraising as popularity in smart speakers continues to rise.

You don’t have to look too far for new tech, either. Just take your point-of-sale system, for example. Some EPoS systems are designed specifically for the charity sector. These solutions include Gift Aid software that automates the entire donation process, boosting profits while reducing admin. The system helps staff, volunteers, and donors alike as the software helps with managing stock and simplifying the transaction process.


The popularity of online events has been growing steadily for some time, but it significantly surged during the pandemic. The charity sector saw this as the perfect time to get involved. Charities like Mind, the NSPCC, and NHS Charities Together partnered up with Glastonbury to create Glasthomebury, a streamed version of the festival that encouraged those at home to donate to the charities that help those most affected by lockdown. 

With the constant development of technology, fueled by the younger generation’s appetite for better tech, now is the perfect time for charities to embrace tech for fundraising. Technology could be a great way of tapping into younger markets, improving customer experience, and boosting revenue.

There’s no better way to bring your charity into the technological age than with Charity Retail Systems’ bespoke, HMRC-recognised EPoS solution. To take your charity to the next level, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

Three successful North West entrepreneurs have united to form an exciting, ground-breaking partnership, which will have significant, positive implications for the charity retail sector in the UK.

Brothers Bob and Dave Chunilal, the entrepreneurs behind Nisyst, the Bolton based supplier of charity retail EPoS software, has joined forces with Tony Hilton, the Manchester based entrepreneur behind charity donation app Gone for Good and Charity Fleetcare, a company which provides a dedicated primary fleet resource for any registered charity. The union has the potential to bring the charity retail sector bang up to date with the services available from commercial retail.

The partnership will allow development of a technology platform that truly focuses on the donors’ experience by linking the Gone For Good app to the charities’ collection vehicles and ultimately into the charity shops, helping reduce costs for charity retailers and at the same time increasing revenues.

Gone for Good, an app aimed to make giving to charity shops easier than ever, has received more than 50,000 downloads since its launch in 2014. Coupled with this, the Charity Fleetcare platform enables the efficient pick-up of a donation by the charity chosen on the app. The Charity Fleetcare software helps third sector organisations by helping reduce fuel costs, lower emissions, enhance driver safety and improve efficiencies.

Dave Chunilal, Technical Director of Nisyst, commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Charity Fleetcare to deliver an end to end solution for charity retailers which will help streamline their operational processes when it comes to receiving donations remotely. It will also ensure that they do not lose out on valuable gift aid. This will be available on every single item donated, whether it is a piece of clothing or a large item of furniture and will make a huge difference to the amount of funding charities are able to receive.”

Tony Hilton, founder and CEO of Charity Fleetcare and Gone for Good, added: “This new partnership is an exciting and much needed development. We hope to bring the sector up to the same standard of service that donors experience from commercial retail. For charities, it will make the donor journey much more efficient and environmentally friendly and ensure that income is maximised whilst costs are reduced. It will undoubtedly contribute to charities being able to deliver more for those much needed causes.”

To find out more about the new service available from Nisyst and Charity Fleetcare, please contact Nisyst on 01204 706 000 or Charity Fleetcare on 0800 014 9797.

When Paul Chivers joined Bristol-based charity St Peter’s Hospice to head up their retail team four years ago, his arrival coincided with the charity’s official tendering process for a retail software solutions provider, and very early stage conversations with Nisyst. The charity had one key requirement – a system that was simple for their team to use.

As one of the largest hospices in the UK, St Peter’s Hospice cares for adults with life-limiting illnesses aiming to improve the quality of their living and dying while extending care and support to their families and loved ones.  With 51 charity retail outlets within a two-mile radius across Bristol including high street, specialist, boutique and furniture shops, their retail outlets are one of their strongest methods of fundraising.

With the care provided by the charity completely free, each day costs approximately £20,000 to operate, with all the money coming from Gifts in Wills, donations, fundraising and from the revenue generated by the shops. It is vital to the charity that every last penny goes towards the exceptional care the charity provides.

“We required a reliable and robust EPoS system which could grow with our needs,” Paul explained. “A system that our team could get to grips with quickly, and the functionality to bolt on new initiatives as they arose. For example, if we had an interruption to our internet connection, we wanted a system that could run comfortably offline as well. Nisyst’s CHARiot EPoS system offered all of these features.”

One of the most important modules within the CHARiot EPoS system is the Gift Aid module and, since the introduction of Gift Aid on items marked as rag, St Peter’s Hospice has generated an increase in revenue. “Before Nisyst introduced this feature, these items weren’t generating any revenue for the charity,” Paul said. “In the first year after its launch, the revenue generated from rag items paid for more than a full-day of our operations. This revenue has continued to grow year-on-year as our staff and volunteers become more familiar with the process.”

By keeping track of the eligible items, CHARiot EPoS can calculate the exact amount of money which can be reclaimed and the module also meets the strict criteria laid out by HMRC, meaning charities like St  Peter’s Hospice don’t miss out on any of the money to which they are entitled.

As well as enabling an increase in revenue for the charity, CHARiot EPoS has improved the retail teams’ efficiency through the introduction of a digitised Single Lotto Ticket sign up process. A common fundraising format in the sector, paper lotto tickets were sold to customers and the retailer would take the customer’s details – a similar process to purchasing a raffle ticket.

While customers who chose to sign up over a longer period would pay a Direct Debit every month, a Single Lotto Ticket customer would have to sign up every week. “The old process was a very manual method which was very time consuming for our team,” Paul said. With the arrival of CHARiot, this is now a completely paperless process in which the team administer the details on a till which retains the relevant customer’s details. “It is far more efficient than before and has made a significant difference to our retail teams,” Paul added.

Since joining forces four years ago to improve efficiencies and revenues in the retail arm of the charity, St Peter’s Hospice have enjoyed working with Nisyst. “We have been very impressed with the help and support offered by the team at Nisyst who we have developed an incredibly positive working relationship with since the introduction of the CHARiot EPoS system,” Paul added. “Their IT helpline, in particular, is excellent and they’re highly proactive visiting us regularly to review our systems and processes. Their services have helped us drive our income forward and we look forward to continuing this with Nisyst in the future.”

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“Nisyst really do care about you as a customer. Right from our very first meeting, they really listened to our needs and paid attention to what we wanted, providing a tailored solution for us as an independent charity. They are always willing to listen to our feedback so they can continue to provide the very best EPoS product for the charity retail market.”

As someone who started her career at Hospiscare eighteen years ago working as a volunteer in one of their twenty retail outlets, Helen Hutter appreciates the absolute necessity of using an EPoS system in store which is one hundred percent dependable.

Now Head of Retail at Hospiscare, a Devon based charity which provides end of life care for those who are terminally ill, this experience has given her a greater appreciation of the frustrations experienced by shop managers and volunteers when the EPoS system used to serve a customer goes down unexpectedly.

“We have twenty retail outlets in total, all dedicated Hospiscare charity shops. These include sixteen generic charity shops, two warehouse style shops, one department store and one book and collectable shop. Our last EPoS system was so incredibly unreliable – at any time tills in our shops could crash. This caused massive inconvenience for everyone involved and in some cases meant that we missed out on a sale. Not good news when you are a charity and entirely dependent on retail sales and donations to fund what you do! It was clear, going forward, that our EPoS system was not fit for purpose.”

It was this frustration, and a desire to improve the process of claiming Gift Aid, which spurred Helen on to go out to tender for another EPoS systems provider. She approached several companies, but it was clear from the get-go that Nisyst’s approach made them stand out from the crowd.

“Right from our very first meeting with Nisyst, they really listened to our needs and paid attention to what we wanted. They weren’t providing a one size fits all solution, but a tailored approach which suited us as an independent charity. They were also able to address the data conversion challenge, easily importing the information from our existing system into CHARiot.”

Nisyst’s CHARiot EPoS system was installed in a matter of six weeks, with Hospiscare being one of the first charities to use the ‘Single Scan Barcode’ (SSB) service. This service enables every product to be put through the till and scanned using a barcode which assesses whether or not the product is eligible for Gift Aid. The service is also used to label donations once they are handed in, which means the charity can adhere to GDPR rules, much improving the experience for the donor. Hospiscare also take advantage of the Lottery Module service, which enables them to sell lottery tickets anonymously.

“Installing the new system was a really smooth process and, without doubt, has completely changed the way we operate. It has meant that managers and volunteers within our retail outlets are far more confident and comfortable dealing with customers. We can offer a far better service to our customers, in the knowledge that our tills won’t crash at any given moment. It has also made the process of claiming Gift Aid far more robust and compliant and generally much smoother. In addition, we’re also able to view how each individual shop is performing daily via a mobile dashboard. This enables us to respond to issues quickly and lets the shop manager know if they need to do more to reach their sales target.”

Helen also really appreciates the level of customer care given by Nisyst on a regular basis.

“The team continue to provide us with an absolutely outstanding service, responding to our requests for assistance quickly and efficiently. We have regular meetings with our account manager who is always willing to listen to our feedback. They have a strong desire to provide the very best EPoS product for the charity retail market. Nisyst really do care about you as a customer.”

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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.”

Charities are constantly evolving in their commitment towards life-changing goals. Whilst progress has played a big part in their success, there are still many improvements and changes that could be made to achieve an even better outcome for charities.

We are now seeing more and more people coming together to work towards achieving these improvements. Collaboration in this way has meant better and varied ideas in the different ways a charity could operate. Technology is a huge part of today’s world with most things accessible at your fingertips. We’ve rounded up just a few new technologies that have been created for charities: Read more

Charitable donations come from a great place, one of kindness and generosity from people who have something to share. To protect the intent of these donations the government has implemented a tax benefit that means all of the money given to charity stays with the charity.

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Running a charity shop is different from a normal store because you may be reliant on donations for your stock, there are lulls and peaks in people’s donation habits and a lot of it is to do with convenience. So you as a charity shop need to do what you can to encourage people to donate more frequently.

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We have a busy month ahead at Nisyst, here are some events coming up that we are attending;

Hospice UK Exhibition 10 – 12 November

Digital Entrepreneur of the Year Awards – 11 November

YMCA Chief Executives Networking Conference, Lincoln – 11 November

Charity Retail Association AGM Meeting – 12 November