Software will keep Gift Aid details for charity shops

A UK software company is to launch a system that will enable charity shops to collect detailed information about sales and retain Gift Aid details of regular donors.

The package, known as CHARiot, has been developed by Maxa Solutions as a way of updating charities' old cash register systems and allowing them to improve their business strategies.

The software is for tracking goods, updating purchasing orders and collecting supplier information. This enables shop managers to understand profitability in real terms, such as when items have been donated in bulk by a particular supplier.

The function that would usually deal with loyalty cards has been adapted to store donor information so that eventually it will be possible to reclaim Gift Aid on donated goods.

"Most charities still work on a cash register system that doesn't provide any real management information," said Andrea Percival, director of Maxa Solutions. "Charities are an unprofessionalised market - CHARiot will increase effectiveness and allow charities to understand their business in a more efficient manner."

However, Roy Smith, central services manager for retail at Sue Ryder Care, said the charity, which has 370 shops in the UK, was still using its old system to successfully reclaim Gift Aid on donated goods.

"We will continue to monitor the market, but we have taken the decision not to make what would be a substantial investment at the present time," he said.

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