Charities do great things for great people and here at Charity Retail Systems our chairty EPoS systems ensure you remain as profitable as possible


Something we can always count on in life is change. While planning for the future is a useful exercise to help shape your charity’s decision-making, strict plans are asking to be ruined. The charity sector is constantly changing. We’ve all seen what a sudden shift can look like and how it can affect us.

However, across many industries – including the charity sector – time and resources are still being wasted trying to avoid the inevitable. Trying to avoid the changes that are always lurking around the corner. That’s not the way, we think. Here are some simple ways your charity shop can better embrace the exciting world of change.


The simplest way to stay abreast of any massive industry shifts is to stay up to date with the technology. At this point, after a rough pandemic, we wouldn’t be surprised if the focus is on making any investment worth its value.

So how does that factor into your tech choices? Are you looking for the solutions that let you take advantage of as many sources of revenue as possible? For example, you might want something that works seamlessly with your online store (if you have one). Or it might allow you to secure as much Gift Aid revenue as possible by streamlining the sign-up process.

These kinds of features make all the difference. If it’s not about money, then it can be about productivity. What solutions will allow your team to pick up any new software with ease? Or allow your head office staff to access need-to-know info at any team, even on the go?

Diversified revenue

We just briefly mentioned it, but it’s worth a point all of its own: diversifying your revenue streams. There’s no knowing if we’ll ever see another lockdown. But if we do, are you prepared for it? What lessons did you learn from 2020? There’s value in exploring what other opportunities are out there.

Let’s look at The British Heart Foundation (BHF) as an example. During COVID, they decided to reform their online retail services. As a result, in 2020, they saw a 12% increase in eBay sales.  A more robust, online sales process means the charity bounced back quickly from its pandemic losses and is in a stronger position to embrace online markets in the future.

Not every charity has the size and reach of BHF, but what can you take from their situation? Do you have an online store people can use? If there was a lockdown, do you have a click-and-collect system to make sure people can still shop with you even if they can’t enter the store?

Diverse businesses are stronger businesses. The more you can spread your revenue across a number of independent streams, the more likely you are to bounce back from any unforeseen challenges or industry shifts.

Creating a one-, five-, or ten-year plan can be great for brainstorming innovative new ideas and opportunities. You do want to look to the future. But don’t forget about the short-term. Change is how the charity sector will continue to thrive and give back to all the incredible causes it supports.

Isn’t it time your charity embraces it?

Nisyst’s HMRC-recognised CHARiotWeb empowers your charity to always stay one step ahead of the curve. With innovative functionalities to add as you grow, including online sales, and harnessing the power of technology to streamline your day-to-day operation, we’re here to help you. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

Consumers are constantly looking for more and more convenient ways to shop. It’s predicted that by 2024, 88.4% of UK shoppers will be doing so online. And the pandemic only increased consumers’ need for online shopping. 

Physical stores and charities go hand in hand, so this sector in particular was hit particularly hard by the lockdown. So how did they adapt to these changes? And with lockdowns coming to an end soon (hopefully for good), is there still merit in adopting this kind of approach?

How the pandemic has impacted shopping habits

Due to the pandemic, online shopping saw its largest year-on-year growth since 2007, rising by 36.6%. And 46% of UK customers bought products they’d only previously purchased in-store. But while online shopping soared, footfall in charity shops decreased dramatically. 

With lockdown ending, you might think in-store sales will catch up to online, but that’s not necessarily the case. In-store sales will increase, but probably not to what they once were. A recent report suggests the pandemic accelerated shifts in consumer behaviour by five years. And it seems unlikely that we’d take a step backwards when consumers have been converted by the convenience of online shopping and click-and-collect services. 

How are charities adapting?

Many charities are now offering online alternatives to make up for lost footfall in brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, Seven out of ten large charities now sell their products online, and third-party sites are particularly popular in the charity sector. 

Charities such as Cancer Research, RSPCA, Comic Relief, and many more have taken to websites like eBay for a new way to sell their products. Though the issue with using third-party sites is that charities don’t always receive 100% of the profits. That’s why many, like Oxfam, have created their own Ecommerce sites to drive sales, either on their own or as a combination of both.

How OpenCart can help

OpenCart is one such Ecommerce choice that charities could use. But it can cause issues when it’s completely separate from your usual operations. What you want to be able to do is have your OpenCart site integrate seamlessly with your current setup.

With a simple click of a button on your website – such as a “shop now” button – customers would be directed to your OpenCart site. And unlike other third-party platforms, it would be customisable to match your charity’s branding. On the back-end, it should synchronise with your system, allowing you to track sales and manage stock.

That’s the ideal solution and makes OpenCart the obvious choice. We’ve seen how important this is for charities, which is why we’ve made sure integration with our CHARiot system is simple. You can do all of the above and compare your online and in-store sales at a glance, completely hassle-free.

Online shopping isn’t going anywhere, lockdown or not. There’s no better time to ensure your online platform meets the needs of today’s consumer. If you can create a quality online experience, you can keep bringing in the money you need to really make a difference.

If you are looking to make the most of your online offering, Charity Retail Systems can help. From setting up an OpenCart site to integrating it with your pre-existing system, we can ensure you’re in the perfect position to draw as much value from your donors as possible. To find out more, send us an email to and we will be happy to help.

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.


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 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 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.


Borehamwood storeLondon-based charity, All Aboard Shops, has doubled the amount of Gift Aid it collects within just two years after switching its EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) system to CHARiot from Nisyst.

The charity has recently collected in excess of 35 per cent of Gift Aid on donated items across its 18 shops; twice as much as the monthly average of 17 per cent it collected with its previous EPoS system and the highest in the charities 30 year history.

With 17 shops across London and one in Manchester, All Aboard benefits over 60 registered UK charities through the sale of donated clothes and household goods. The company rolled out the CHARiot system to its shops two years ago and uses the system’s Full Scan Mode (FSM) to ensure that gift Gift Aid is processed on eligible items by preventing the transaction from being completed until the barcoded label has been scanned.

Chief executive of All Aboard, Alan Haynes, explains: “Reviewing our EPoS provider was a high priority for me when I joined All Aboard and we opted for the CHARiot system because it is very simple and intuitive, offers us a more efficient way of collecting Gift Aid and is extremely robust in terms of HMRC compliance.

“Two years on, not only have we doubled the Gift Aid collection we were achieving with our old system, but we have also found the system to be 100 per cent reliable with zero errors. What’s more, Nisyst’s helpdesk ensures that any queries from our staff and volunteers are resolved quickly and easily over the phone.”

The positive impact on All Aboard’s revenue since switching to the CHARiot system has prompted the charity to develop plans to implement additional CHARiot functionality.  All Aboard has recently established a warehouse facility and now plans to use CHARiot’s Gift Aid on Rag (GAoR) capabilities to maximise rag items that are not suitable for sale in its shops.  The GAoR functionality enables accurate calculation of Gift Aid based on the current price of rag to ensure full HMRC compliance.

All Aboard is also considering implementing a lottery in future and plans to adopt the CHARiot Lottery function to ensure Gift Aid is collected on ticket sales.

Alan adds: “We know that the CHARiot system can provide us with additional functionality to help us maximise Gift Aid revenues, while providing accurate management information and supporting robust compliance.

“Charities often make procurement decisions based on purchase cost but our experience with CHARiot demonstrates the value of factoring in functionality, compliance and service too.”

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


October isn’t just the month of ghouls, ghosts and witches. It doesn’t just bring the expectation of pumpkins and colder days either; October, in all of its glory, is the month of National Bullying Prevention, National Down Syndrome Awareness, National Depression Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, ADHD Awareness, Stoptober and Oxjam.

With such a big month in the year, we’re here to tell you a little bit more about the weeks you can dedicate to your specific charity (Heads up, World Animal Day is on the 4th!) Read more


September brings with it cold breezes and dreary days. It brings the rush of a new school year and the hum of Halloween and Christmas on the horizon. Did you know though, that September also brings an array of colourful, heroic and hardworking charities?

September is the month of:

• National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month,
• Blue September (Men’s Cancer),
• National Blood Cancer Awareness Month,
• Urology Awareness Month,
• Northern Ireland Stroke Awareness

Amongst these dedicated causes, its 30 days are packed with individual charities such as International Day of Charity (5th September), Jeans for Genes Day (18th September) and World Alzheimer’s Day (20th September). Though some of these well known charity days have now passed, there are some this week you can look forward to. Today, for instance, is National Dementia Carer’s Day!


14th-20th September 2015

Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week

Lymphoma, first of all, is a cancer which can affect any part of the body by attacking the lymph nodes which play an important role in generating blood cells for the immune system.
This week the Lymphoma Assosiation are helping to raise awareness for the continual support to patients who have overcome Lymphatic Cancer.


lymphatic cancer - iStock_000002370900_Medium


Know Your Numbers! Week (Blood Pressure)

Knowing your blood pressure can greatly help you remain aware of your level of fitness and can help you fight Diabetes. As Blood Pressure UK’s awareness campaign, Know Your Numbers! Week has helped thousands of adults across the UK since its launch in 2001.


Doctor holding heart


Meningitis Awareness Week

Meningitis infects the protective membrane of your spinal cord and brain causing it to inflame which can damage the nerve and the brain. As a serious disease, Meningitis and Septicaemia are still present in the UK and Ireland with over 3,000 cases occurring every year. This week, let’s help to raise awareness for this life changing illness and spread the word about what symptoms to look out for.


Old women on balcony with coffee


Sexual Health Week

Run by the Family Planning Association (FPA) for more than 80 years, Sexual Health Week is the perfect opportunity to learn all you need to know about STI’s and sexual health. It’s also brilliant for raising awareness of many common STI’s and in educating the general public on what to do and how to avoid them.




Whether you’re helping to spread awareness through a planned event, or by raising money in your charity store, we understand how important your charity is to you. To help, our charity retail systems can keep your money safe and secure and can help you to keep track of what you’re selling for your charity. For more information, contact our friendly team today on 01204 706 000.


There are hundreds of charities all over the world with hundreds of different and similar goals. From world peace to world protection, child education to animal care and safety, as the International Day of Charity swiftly approaches (September 5th for those of you who don’t know) we thought we’d reflect on some of the charity giants and their fantastic achievements!


Children in Need

Spanning the decades, Children in Need has become a greatly anticipated national entertainment programme! Set up with numerous entertainers, from nationally beloved actors to singers far and wide, one of the BBC’s greatest charity events (closely followed by Comic Relief and Sports Relief) has raised thousands of pounds since its beginning.

The charity, set up to raise money for disadvantaged children and young adults right here in the UK, last year reached a staggering £32,620,469, the largest sum they’ve been able to raise so far! Perhaps this year we’ll be able to come together and raise even more to help children and young people in our own communities live happier lives!


Mother and Schoolchildren - iStock_000015833058_Medium



We’re sure you’ve heard of the Guardians of the Earth; Greenpeace. Spreading their influence across the globe, Greenpeace have successfully stopped, prevented, irritated, agitated, negotiated and motivated companies large and small to put a stop to their destructive ways and to help protect environments and animals alike.

They’ve successfully executed a global ban on nuclear weapons testing  and persuaded Facebook to become a greener company amongst other things.

From us at Charity Retail Systems, keep it up Greenpeace, you’re doing awesome!


glass globe in hand green bio



The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is by far one of the most well known charities we have here in the UK. RSPCA officers work tirelessly morning and night to protect wild and domestic animals from the cruelty of people.

Recently one of the greatest achievements the RSPCA has undertaken is adding their voice to the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which reinforces the 1911 Act and granted the RSPCA and the police to arrest people on suspicion of animal cruelty!


Confused Dog- iStock_000045727868_Medium


The Ice Bucket Challenge

Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? The charity event that took the world by storm last year? Over two million people were tagged in the Facebook phenomenon  which included dowsing yourself in icy water. It may have turned slightly dangerous towards the end with people leaping into icy lakes but it definitely paid off! The social media challenge raised over £142 million pounds, that’s over $220 million dollars!

Amyotrophic  lateral sclerosis is a nerve damaging disease in the brain and spinal cord. Before the Ice Bucket Challenge there was said to be no cure but thanks to all of your freezing cold people out there, you’ve raised enough money to help the ALS research make an monumental breakthrough!

Congratulations Ice Bucketeers, you’ve helped take a huge step towards finding a cure for ALS!



For your charity shop, we’d like to do a little something to help you collect as much money as possible to help make sure breakthroughs happen again and again! Our charity EPoS system can help you safely secure sales and can keep track of what you’re selling for your cause!

For more information, contact us today on 01204 706 000!