Charity Digital News was pleased to be invited to Cybertill’s second charity conference from 21st– 22nd October in Leicester, which provided a great platform to address the latest hot topics in charity retail from gift aid legislation to ecommerce, and advised charities on best practices using the Cybertill charity retail system.
Cybertill is installed in around one in three charity shops across the UK, ranging from individual shops to larger regional hospices and some of the largest national charity retailers. The system is continually evolving and offers on-going free software updates so charities need only invest once in their gift aid and EPoS system.
During the welcome speech, CEO Ian Tomlinson spoke of Cybertill’s focus on charity retail, with the launch of a new website specifically for charity retailers and the setting up charity specific social media feeds.
Liz Brownsell of Blake Morgan went on to discuss the legal aspects of gift aid. She reminded delegates that gift aid only applies to donations of cash and that the charity shop acts as an agent, selling the items on behalf of the donor. She also touched upon HMRC’s new methods for reclaiming gift aid. Many large charities, including Oxfam, chose not to opt in to the new method, preferring to stick to the standard process and send letters to their donors instead.
Paul Thompson, head of retail at the British Red Cross, spoke about the charity’s loyalty card scheme which acts as a USP and encourages donors to return to the shop. During the early stages, the charity consulted Tesco to gain valuable insight into how their own Clubcard system works. The loyalty cards enable the charity to build up a retail specific database, target groups of people and build stronger relationships with their donors.
The clear benefits of fundraising lotteries as a means of incentivising regular giving was the key point of Sterling Lotteries’ Richard Dixon’s speech. For example, charities could ask for £1 a week from donors to be entered into a weekly or monthly draw, which can work alongside other forms of fundraising.
In an insightful debate, contributors discussed the challenges facing charity retail. A key topic was recruiting staff and volunteers; charities were urged to be creative and embrace technology in the workplace, thereby creating an open environment which will draw in the younger generation.
After lunch, Rob Finley and Cybertill’s web consultant Simon Roberts spoke about the importance of ecommerce and multi-channel retail. The UK is the second largest ecommerce market in the world, with 27% of consumers shopping online every week. Despite this fact many charities are missing out, with a whopping 98% not selling their products online. Cybertill has multi-channel applications, such as ecommerce and mail order, that enable charities to sell in-store, online and over the phone.
So what’s in store for Cybertill? The company has been working on HMRC direct submissions, a lottery module, eBay module, ecommerce, tablet functionality and electronic sign up. Most importantly, Cybertill wanted to hear from customers about features they would like to see in the future.
All in all a great event which gave charities large and small the chance to learn more about the Cybertill system and share ideas about upcoming trends in the charity retail space.
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