Mobile technology in charity shops

Eproductive has been working on mobile solutions for charity retail clients for some years and we’ve now installed them in nearly 1,000 stores. Our clients are currently most excited about our digital donor sign up solution and it is proving to be popular with staff and donors alike. We’d like to share some of the learnings of installing tablets in both national and local chains.

Business Case– as with all technology projects it’s worth putting together a solid business case before you embark on shop installations – the good news is that there is a very compelling case! Our clients have seen a reduction in stationery, postage and storage costs, an improvement in the quality of data and a higher, more accurate email capture rate (critical for low cost communications)

We’ve put together a document outlining costs and benefits and would be happy to share – get in touch if you would like a copy by emailing  info@eproductive.com

Infrastructure– you’re going to need wi-fi and tablets as a minimum. You may also want to secure the device to prevent theft. There are many security devices available although we are seeing a move towards keeping the tablet untethered but secure, with the tablet only being produced at the point of donor engagement. The cost of tablets continues to fall and many clients are telling us that it is cheaper to swallow the loss of an occasional tablet rather than pay to secure all tablets. Having tablets more mobile also gives more flexibility, enabling sign up to take place on the shop floor or back door as required.

Software – Input screens need to be simple and quick to use. A clunky interface is almost certain to lose you sign ups.  Make sure that all validation is in place to ensure data is correct for HMRC claims. Consider also getting an electronic signature. It’s not strictly necessary for the HMRC but you may want it for your agency agreement and it’s good to have in case any future issues arise!

Email, Email, Email! – getting an accurate email address has so much value. We’re using donor’s email addresses to thank them for donations, notify them of sales (for either Standard or Method A/B) and lately to enable donors to update their own details. The good news with digital sign up is that the email quality is better (no transposition errors) allowing you to keep engagement costs to a minimum.

Security – With GDPR changes, security is more important than ever.  Data will be processed on the tablet, transmitted back to your database and stored for many years. You need to make sure that your processes are secure and compliant at all stages. Also think about what happens if the tablet is stolen – could any donor data be accessed at the same time?

Process change and transition – You will need to think about how you transition from the legacy process to the new process. There will be existing forms and processes that will need to change as digital is rolled out. Also think about a plan B if a donor does not want to use the tablet but would like to sign up for gift aid.

HMRC– There will probably be changes to your reporting as a result of implementing digital donor sign up, and your system will need to be able to produce a completed donor declaration when audits take place – and remember if any changes are made to the donor record in future you will need to be able to produce the original donor declaration along with details of any changes that have been made.

“Leveraging” the tablet– one final thought… if you do decide to press ahead with digital sign up think about what else you could use the tablet for – we are working with clients on a diverse range of projects including new goods stock take entry and delivery acknowledgment, cash donation management and room booking.

If you’d like to get in touch to discuss digital gift aid or any of our other solutions we’d love to talk. You can call us on 020 7485 2500 or email info@eproductive.com