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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.

Technology

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.

In the first half of 2021, we saw a net decline of over 5,000 shops across the UK as all retailers felt the impacts of pandemic restrictions – charity shops included. But while this might not be as bad as 2020, the next year or so will continue to be touch and go for many retailers.

So, with the added pressure of such important causes relying on your donations and revenue, how can your charity get back in its best shape in this retail landscape? Let’s look at three common retail challenges that could be slowing your charity down.

Till errors

Charities of all sizes rely on their dedicated volunteers. But since this is an unpaid role, it’s not unusual to have a higher staff turnover than you might like. So you’ll have volunteers coming and going, all of whom need training with your EPoS system. This can lead to some mistakes as they get to grips. Now, a single cash discrepancy isn’t going to spell disaster for your charity, but every little bit of lost revenue will add up.

To make up for this, you want an EPoS system that’s quick and easy to pick up and use. A reliable, straightforward interface will mean fewer mistakes and more money going to your cause.

Unstable overheads

The world of charity retail is never going to be as predictable as we’d like it to be. While, fingers crossed, we won’t see disruption like we’ve seen over the last two years, it’s unrealistic to assume the landscape will be smooth sailing from here on out. Meaning you’ll need to continue to be cautious with your finances.

Nothing adds pressure quite like the fear that something could break and you’d be left to foot the bill at any given moment. Charities are only just beginning to find their feet, meaning a broken till or two could add unnecessary strain and pressure.

Instead of having this fear looming over your head, a subscription-based EPoS model means you can cut any sudden costs. You keep paying the same monthly fee, confident everything will be quickly fixed when it needs it. 

Convoluted processes

One of the most valuable assets your charity has is your staff and volunteers’ time. But how much of this is getting tied up in convoluted processes?

Whether it’s spent processing Gift Aid submissions that could be completed automatically, or having to wait until end of day to see daily reports, how much time and effort are you wasting on tasks that could be streamlined and simplified? How much extra revenue could you capture if hosting a raffle or enabling sale round-ups became effortless for your volunteers? How much more stable would your finances be if online sales were easily integrated into your stores?

These are just a few examples of where outdated processes might be slowing you down. And ways that technology and innovative tools could begin to impact your operations and revenue for the better.

The retail industry hasn’t had it easy over the past few years. But, with your valuable cause to think about, now is the time to look at ways to build back better and stronger than ever before. The right technology and tools will help you increase productivity, boost revenue, and streamline operations long into the future.

Are you ready for an EPoS solution that helps your charity lead from the front and stop playing catch up? Nisyst’s HMRC-recognised CHARiotWeb helps streamline your daily operations, reducing till errors with a straightforward interface, and boosting visualisation with real-time reporting. Available in one easy monthly package, it means you don’t have to break the bank. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many charity shops across the country. They’re a great way to get fresh, excited individuals into the sector and are crucial for raising much-needed funds for your cause.

But during the pandemic, the number of charity shop volunteers fell by 45,000. And 35% of organisations say they have seen a decrease in their numbers over the past year. But as the world slowly returns to normal, it’s essential for charity shops to get them back on board. Here’s how to recruit more volunteers – and keep them.

Use social media

Generation Z is more likely to have volunteered than other age groups, according to a study by The British Heart Foundation. It also showed 53% of the respondents would be interested in future opportunities. And as Gen Z makes up 75% of Instagram’s users, 26% of TikTok’s users, and nearly 60% of Snapchat’s users, these platforms are the perfect place to advertise.

As well as promoting your vacancies, you can post content that may appeal to those considering volunteering. Show how they can help your shop, how their work benefits those in need, and how amazing being a volunteer is. But social media alone won’t cut it… 

Advertise offline

70% of people in the age bracket 65-75 volunteered in 2019/2020, a number that dropped in 2020/2021, likely due to the pandemic. 59% of people in the same age range are on social media. While that’s over half, there are still many without a social media presence, meaning they’ll miss any opportunities posted online.

Offline advertisements are essential to let as many people know about your open positions as possible. Flyers, leaflets, and newspaper ads are just some examples of how you can still reach those audiences. 

The importance of your EPoS system

Once you’ve found volunteers, the question is how do you keep them? 48% of charities believe their staff are missing core digital skills and competency. And 47% said their organisation lacks confidence with digital, according to The Charity Digital Skills Report. With this in mind, it’s crucial that any tech used in your charity shop is easy to use and volunteer-friendly.

As your EPoS is vital to your operation and used by all staff, it must be instinctual to avoid error, make training new volunteers easy, and create a more enjoyable experience. 

Many charity shops rely on these vital people to achieve their mission. But as the number has dropped, it’s important to consider where people are most likely to hear about your opportunities. To recruit more volunteers and keep them on board, it’s essential your EPoS is easy to navigate so they can succeed.

We understand volunteers are vital to your operation. We kept this in mind when creating CHARiot Web, an EPoS system that’s simple to use. If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to book a demo, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

67% of charities now see digital development as a prime concern for their organisation. And it’s no surprise it’s such a priority. In 2020, 87% of the people in the UK made online purchases. And there were 3.78 billion social media users worldwide. So now seems to be the best time to get online and start taking advantage of all the internet offers. As well as this, there are a great number of charities planning to invest in digital infrastructure, which is a fantastic sign.

But, according to The Charity Digital Skills Report, there are many barriers preventing charities from making the most out of digital. These include a lack of core digital skills and competency, a lack of confidence in the organisation, the company culture, and more. As keeping up to date with digital could be the key to maximising donations and generating income for your cause, how can you overcome these challenges?

Attend online learning events

The Charity Digital Skills Report shows that 48% of charities believe their staff lack core digital skills and competency, and 47% said their organisation lacks confidence with digital. Online learning events could help with both issues in a fun, accessible way.

Webinars exploded in popularity when the first lockdown came into effect, and with good reason. They offer the perfect opportunity to learn and expand your skills without the need to travel to a venue. There are many online events available – whether tailored specifically for those in the charity sector or with a broader audience – that can help your staff keep their skills up to scratch or develop new ones.

One example is eBay’s free six-month virtual training programme launched to help charities get on eBay and make extra money for their charity. Another is Charity Digital’s #BeMoreDigital Fundraising Day in October this year. The event is free and will focus on skill-building to help charities fundraise digitally. 

Choosing the right EPoS

The downside is that training can be difficult. Especially if you have multiple volunteers coming and going. Instead, it could be a good idea to focus on instinctual tech, starting with your EPoS. Most volunteers and members of staff need to use the EPoS, so it only makes sense it’s as easy to use as possible.

The report shows that 30% of charities believe they need to sort out their infrastructure or processes, including data protection. A great EPoS can help by ensuring data protection laws are adhered to. Gift Aid forms, for example, can cause issues when stored in your shop. An EPoS with paperless sign up that submits Gift Aid forms directly to HMRC could help.

Compared to last year, the number of charities rating themselves as having excellent basic digital skills has almost doubled, which is fantastic news. As we shift to a digital-first society, charity shops can continue to raise funds for their causes in new spaces. Looking for an EPoS to keep your shop ahead of the curve?

Nisyst’s new and improved CHARiot Web has all the features your charity shop needs. You can seamlessly keep up with the digital curve while remaining easy to use and volunteer friendly. To find out more, reach out to us on 01204 706 000.

So you’ve decided to set up a new charity shop. It can be a stressful time. You need to recruit new staff and volunteers, set up the shop floor, order stock in, and handle any other challenges thrown your way. And then you need to choose an EPoS provider.

This can be a daunting process all of itself, never mind when you’re in the middle of setting up a new shop. There are many providers and systems with various features. But it doesn’t have to take up all your time. Here are some questions to think about when finding the perfect EPoS provider for your new shop.

What’s the support like?

We’ve all been on hold for what feels like a century at some point in our lives. It isn’t fun. The music alone is enough to make you regret phoning in the first place. It’s even more frustrating when you realise that time could be spent running your shop and generating money for your cause. 

New shops often have teething problems, so it’s important you can get the support you need. Is the support in-house? Can you access help on weekends? Is it closed on holidays? These are just some questions you might want to ask a potential EPoS provider.

Are they trying to improve their system?

When you choose an EPoS, you want it to be the best it can be. It should help your shop remain HMRC compliant, make claiming Gift Aid a breeze, come with a great stock system, and simply support your shop. You may also want to consider what it means for your cyber security

Once you have that ensured, it’s always a great idea to choose an EPoS provider who is constantly trying to improve their system. As you’ll likely be with this provider for a few years, you want them to be creating new, exciting features that will help your shop grow. New features can help you transform your shop and generate further funds for your cause. 

Do they give demos?

Demos are essential when choosing an EPoS system. Aside from assuring the system does everything you need it to, it’s also the perfect time for your staff to get acquainted with the system. A demo will also reveal whether or not it’s volunteer-friendly and presents the perfect opportunity to ask questions to find out if it’s the right fit for you, your staff, and your shop.

We understand that setting up a new shop can be a difficult time, so why make it more stressful than it needs to be? What’s important is that you find an EPoS provider you’re comfortable with; one that will allow you to be the best you can be for your cause.

Our innovative, HMRC-recognised EPoS solution – CHARiot Web – can help you transform your charity and make the most out of Gift Aid. If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to book a demo, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

Finding new ways to generate income is becoming increasingly vital for charities. There are hundreds of worthy causes out there that all need the support of generous volunteers and donors. Charities across the UK lost billions in funds over the pandemic. So it’s crucial that they can get back up on their feet to continue their valuable work. 

That means looking at every possible part of your operation to find areas where you can improve. Take your EPoS system, for example. Does it have all the features you need to achieve your full potential? Such as portability? Why not take the charity shop to the people; here’s how a portable EPoS system can help your charity.

Generate extra income

More than 20% of charities have less than a month’s financial reserves. And 17% are considering closing some or all of their offices. So increasing income is an absolute must.

A system with portable features allows your staff and volunteers to generate income away from the shop. Say, at pop-up shops, car boot sales, or events. This is great for Gift Aid, meaning you never have to miss out on an opportunity to get all that value you need.

Boost your shop’s performance 

We all know how essential reports are to a business. They offer valuable insights into customer behaviour, sales, and allow us to make important real-time decisions to improve performance. But many EPoS systems that aren’t portable require your staff to be on site or at the head office in order to access them, which is limiting.

To maximise profits, it’s crucial your staff have constant access to the data that helps them make the right decisions. An EPoS that provides your staff with portable features allows them to check this essential information on the go. This can be made even better if the information you have access to is customisable, meaning you only see what’s relevant to your role.

Improve customer experience

One in three consumers say they’ll walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. So creating an unforgettable customer experience is essential for retaining valuable customers.

So how can an EPoS with portable features help create a better customer experience? They can speed up transactions. No one enjoys being held up in a queue – it can dampen an otherwise enjoyable shopping experience. Portability prevents long wait times by allowing your staff to complete important tasks, such as signing up donors from Gift Aid, away from the till. 

At Nisyst, we’re aware of how important a flexible, portable EPoS system is to charities. So we’re excited to announce that we’ll be launching CHARiot Web at the Charity Retail Association Conference on the 9th and 10th of September. CHARiot Web has all the features you need with increased portability and accessibility. Making money for your cause has never been easier.

Ready to maximise your charity shop’s income? Come by our stand at the CRA Conference – we’d love to answer any questions. Or get in touch with us now on 01204 706 000.

When you’re running a business, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. This might go double for charities. Not only do you want to work at your best, you want to earn as much money as you can for your cause. So it’s imperative you have every leg-up you can get. In today’s world, that’s tech – it can improve everything from sales to monitoring the performance of your stores.

One piece of tech you can’t underestimate in your charity is your EPoS system. Like many other services, combining it with the cloud can provide so many benefits. Since technology evolves so fast, it can seem like a constant race to keep up. But by embracing the cloud, you can stay ahead of the curve.

Let’s take a look at three ways a cloud-based EPoS system could improve your charity operations.

Streamline your operation

An amazing aspect of a cloud-based EPoS system is that it’s much simpler to set up and get going.

From here, it’s easy to oversee the performance of all your shops. For example, a cloud-based system could sync all the tills with the server, giving you near real-time sales data. The tills continue to run offline even if the connection drops. So staff can keep making sales until they can connect to the cloud again.

For head-office staff, they can monitor activity no matter where they are. Whether in the office or on the go, the benefit of a cloud-based system is that you can make important decisions for your charity no matter what, driving continual improvement.

Maximise your revenue

That portability is great for volunteers too. Being cloud-based, it can be accessed from any internet-connected device. So if they’re out on the street or at an event, they can still connect to your system, bring in donations, and show you how it’s going.

This works wonders for Gift Aid. This is such a vital source of income for every charity, so you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

A cloud-based EPoS system will also save you money in the long-run. Since it’s online and remote, you have no expensive costs associated with on-premises hardware. No costly installation or long-term physical security.

Greater security for your data

Unfortunately, no one is safe from a cyber attack. For example, just last year, over 100 charities were targeted in a single ransomware attack. Now, a cloud-based system will not prevent cyber attacks in and of itself, but combined with a cloud-backup service, you can keep yourself that much safer.

So whether you’re a victim of an attack or if your data is corrupted at any point, a cloud backup will be able to get you back up and running. On-premises software might be at risk because it’s attached to the same network. But off-premises it’s separate and much easier to keep safe. It’s a nice extra layer of peace of mind.

Cloud-based EPoS systems are how you can keep up with the changing world. Technology is only going to keep evolving faster and faster. With a solution like this, you can get started quickly and work on making a difference to your beneficiaries. We know these qualities are important to charities, which is why we designed CHARiot Web with all of these amazing benefits in mind.

We’re excited to announce this service will launch at the Charity Retail Association Conference on the 9th of September. For our existing customers, CHARiot Web will have the same PoS design as CHARiot 7, so anyone familiar with that will be right at home. We’re sure you’ll love what we have in store!

Curious to see how CHARiot Web can help your charity? Come by our stand at the CRA conference on the 9th and 10th of September with your questions. Or feel free to reach out to us on 01204 706 000 for more information.

Teamwork can grow your business, but the question is: how can you encourage your team to produce better results? Almost 75% of employees value teamwork, making this a top priority for all growing charities. 

When you work with a set of people you can communicate with, you’ll end up forming a united team with shared values that will leave a positive impression on your customers.

For your retail staff, an EPoS system can save your team time, resources, and money, meaning they can get on with what they do best. Here are our top three ways for how an EPoS retail system can support your team.

Encourage employee initiative

You don’t want anything to steal away your staff and volunteers’ time from interacting with customers. If they’re stuck in the back correcting errors and organising stock manually, they’re not doing what they can to make a real difference.

But an EPoS retail system will take care of a lot of this administrative busywork. By automatically categorising your products so they’re easier to find, you take that burden off your team. Now, adding stock to the shop floor is much quicker, allowing for a more efficient flow and letting them talk to customers more.

By simplifying the process, they’re more likely to take the initiative and get the work done. And if they’re willing to go that extra mile, others will too. If people are putting themselves out there to get the work done, it doesn’t hurt to recognise their input and can lead to further improvements.

Improve customer communication

As your team can now access customer data from mobiles, tablets, or PCs, they may feel encouraged to make the most of the entire shop floor, interacting with browsing customers and adding Gift Aid on their purchase remotely. 

By developing a stronger relationship with them, your team will grow more confident and are more likely to lead conversations to a sale.

Sales reports will also show which items your customers prefer to help your team know which items to display. Visual representation is key to drawing customers in through the door.

Speed up sales

Working on the shop floor means your team will have multiple responsibilities that can become overwhelming with a shop full of customers. 

It can be hard enough on a quiet day to keep track of stock, serve customers, and keep your charity running. But when you’re short of staff? That can feel like a nightmare.

One way to make teamwork easier is to let an EPoS system handle those tasks for you. By adding back office scanners, printers for Gift Aid, and an integrated chip and PIN to your shop, your team will find it easier to handle a busy workload.

When you can scan items in an instant, pre-print labels for donations, and provide a quick payment system, your team will find they are flying through sales.

An EPoS system can do more than improve efficiency and maximise profits. It can be a huge boost for your staff and make their lives a lot easier. Why not ask yourself what you’re doing to help your team work at their best?

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.

Choosing the right EPoS system is of paramount importance to your charity retail operations. They can checkout faster, boost productivity, give you oversight of your sales and inventory, and even help you maximise Gift Aid contributions. 

But whether you’re just contemplating a new EPoS system or if you’re looking to upgrade from an old system, perhaps one that’s reached its end of life, there’s a lot you need to consider before deciding. So let’s have a look at the seven questions you should ask when choosing your next system…

What do your staff need?

What would help them in their day to day? Is this system easy to use? What would they like from an EPoS system? These are the first points to ask yourself. Consider everybody’s individual skill level when it comes to technology and find a solution that works for even the most tech-shy person.

Ideally, you want something easy to use that even new volunteers can warm to quickly. A good EPoS system should make your staff’s job easier, not harder.

Is it compatible with your charity?

There are many systems available, so it’s important to choose one that’s best for your charity. Do you need regular offline access? EPoS systems are used in various industries too, so it’s vital to ensure your system is designed with the needs of the charity sector in mind. This is especially important for making the Gift Aid process much simpler.

How does it integrate Gift Aid?

As a charity, Gift Aid will be one of the factors at the top of your agenda. The process to claim Gift Aid can be cumbersome and full of administrative work you don’t have the time for. Some solutions will simplify the process, making it as easy as a couple of clicks.

But with this, you have to look if they take a commission on any claims. You aren’t always guaranteed 100% of the Gift Aid. Furthermore, the admin work of the volunteers seems to increase and there is the potential that you also need to purchase consumables (at a higher rate) from the EPoS supplier.

What does the support look like?

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been on hold for what seems like forever, only to be forwarded on to yet another robot. It’s frustrating, tiring, and when you’re trying to run a shop, unacceptable.

Find a solution that comes with 7 days-a-week, in-house support available. Some EPoS providers even offer training, making the likelihood of needing to phone support that much slimmer.

Is it as secure as possible?

This should go without saying, but you need the most secure system available. Payment fraud is on the rise, and criminals are only becoming more sophisticated in their methods. Not to mention all the information the system can hold, such as PII data, which is essential you encrypt. 

EPoS systems in the charity sector will hold donor information, and you need to ensure this is secure at all times.

Do you want the system to be able to go mobile?

For many shops, the freedom of being able to walk around the floor with the system on a handheld device like a tablet is extremely important. It allows for better customer interaction, improving the shopping experience. Staff also don’t have to be in one particular place to find the information they need.

What is the cost long-term?

If you are looking to write-off the solution over a three- or five-year period, consider what the costs look like over the term length. While it might look like you’re getting a great deal on the surface, with low monthly payments, it could potentially be substantially more expensive over that time.

You also have to take commission into consideration, as this will eat into your profits over the term. Keep in mind that it might increase over the life of the contract.

All EPoS systems are built differently. So it’s vital to conduct thorough research to work out which will benefit your charity shop the most. Don’t feel you have to settle; find the right one for you.

Charity Retail Systems’ EPoS solution, CHARiot, is designed specifically for charity retail. With this volunteer friendly and HMRC-recognised system, you can be certain that your charity shop has the best EPoS, keeping it both efficient and productive. For more information, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

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.

Online

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.