3 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Point of Sale System

June 14, 2024 0 Comments
Woman Donating Unwanted Items To Charity Shop

Nonprofits can benefit from using various software tools, such as constituent relationship management solutions (CRMs), marketing software, and more. However, most don’t consider point of sale (POS) systems as a contender for their tech toolboxes.

Generally, POS systems are associated with businesses — just think of clothing stores, cafes, and grocery stores, which need POS tools to run successfully. Despite the association with the for-profit sphere, these systems can be similarly beneficial to nonprofits with storefronts.

In this guide, we’ll discuss whether your nonprofit should consider investing in a POS system and how these systems can help your organization. With this information, you’ll see exactly how POS software can generate a greater ROI and more funding for your nonprofit.

What types of nonprofits can benefit from a POS system?

Generally, nonprofits that stand to gain the most from a POS system operate some form of storefront, whether physical or online. A few examples of nonprofits with storefronts include:

  • Retail stores. This includes nonprofit thrift stores and other merchandise stores. For example, Lost and Found Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to finding safety and shelter for Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ youth, operates a thrift store, with all proceeds going toward street outreach, youth centers, and finding transitional housing.
  • Animal shelters and rescue organizations. Who doesn’t love animals? Animal shelters and rescue nonprofits know that the cute critters they support are the main draw of their mission, so many of them create and sell branded merchandise through in-person and online stores. Some animal shelters even run pet cafes (such as cat cafes) to generate more revenue.
  • Arts and cultural organizations. Nonprofits such as museums, aquariums, theaters, and more may sell merchandise through gift shops, making POS systems extremely beneficial for them. They may also sell tickets for entry, behind-the-scenes tours, or special events.
  • Health clinics and medical facilities. Nonprofit medical facilities can use POS systems to process patient payments, manage appointments, and track medical supplies and equipment. This creates a streamlined process that allows them to see more patients efficiently and effectively.

Your nonprofit staff may already have experience running a storefront or selling items through product fundraisers, which include bake sales, cookie dough sales, candy grams, and more. Although you might not think of “selling” when you think of mission-driven organizations, many of them do sell items to their audience in some capacity — and a dedicated POS system can make that process more convenient.

How can a nonprofit benefit from using a POS system?

According to ThriftCart, using a dedicated POS system can benefit nonprofits in the following ways:

  • Cost savings. A nonprofit POS system will help reduce costs associated with manual data entry, overstocking, overstaffing, and shipping errors. It may help you boost revenue with financial data you can analyze for key insights.
  • Streamlined operations. The right solution will provide various features to streamline your storefront’s operations through automation, such as syncing the inventory of your physical and online stores, notifying you when stock is low, and automatically messaging previous customers about upcoming deals or promotions.
  • Enhanced customer experience. With well-stocked inventory and efficient checkout, customers will have a better experience at your nonprofit’s store. As a result, they may feel more positively about spending their hard-earned money, leading to more revenue generated.

The right POS system can greatly improve operations for nonprofit storefronts, facilitating greater customer engagement and satisfaction and increased funding for the organization’s mission.

3 Reasons for Nonprofits To Use a POS System

Now that you know the benefits of using a POS system, let’s dive into how specific POS features can help your nonprofit:

1. Inventory management

Inventory management is a key feature of any POS system. Your solution should offer real-time inventory tracking, allowing you to easily stay informed on what’s in stock and what items need to be sourced. This is especially helpful as your nonprofit store gains popularity, ensuring you always have the stock to meet your customers’ needs.

Additionally, if you run both brick-and-mortar and online storefronts, a robust solution will include syncing capabilities. This means that if customers make purchases online, they will be reflected in your overall inventory database. This way, you can operate with confidence because you’ll never sell an item that you don’t actually have in stock.

Furthermore, you can use a POS system to discount types of merchandise or entire departments, depending on your store’s needs. This makes it simple to host promotions and deals, sell certain products, and encourage customers to make purchases.

2. Donation tracking

As a nonprofit professional, you know just how crucial donations are. While purchases made at nonprofit storefronts don’t usually count as donations, it’s common practice to ask for a donation on top of the purchase. Even for-profit businesses do it, usually by asking the customer to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar and donate the change to a nonprofit cause.

A POS system makes it possible for your nonprofit’s store to ask for donations during checkout, which is an easy fundraising technique. Aside from rounding up, you can prompt the donor to make a flat donation to your cause. Plus, your POS system will provide a purchase receipt and a donation receipt for the donor’s tax purposes.

Certain types of nonprofit stores also accept in-kind donations, which Winspire defines as any non-monetary gift made to a nonprofit or to benefit a charitable cause. This usually applies to consignment or thrift stores because they have sales models that rely on item donations. A POS system allows you to easily manage these donations by logging who donated a certain item and storing their information in your database so you know to follow up and thank them for their contribution.

3. Financial reporting and analytics

With the financial reporting and analytics features of POS systems, your nonprofit can track:

  • Your popular items. You can track item turnover time and number of sales to determine what your nonprofit store’s most popular items are. Stock these items to increase your store’s fundraising capability.
  • Most profitable times. This could refer to a specific time of day, day of the week, or even a season or month of the year. Once you know your most profitable times, you can stock your store accordingly, schedule the right number of staff members, and time discounts or promotions to maximize sales.
  • Customer data. A POS system allows you to collect data such as customer demographics, spending habits, and more. With this information, you can generate customer personas to effectively target your ideal customer.
  • Donor data. A POS system will sync with your nonprofit constituent relationship management system (CRM), giving you more information about how to engage your donors.

With the information from a POS system, you’ll be well-equipped to make data-driven decisions that improve your nonprofit’s store, empowering you to generate more sales and inspire more donations.

Nonprofit storefronts are a lucrative opportunity for the organizations that make the most of them. They help you bring in more donations, engage long-term supporters in fresh ways, and spread awareness about your mission to your community. To maximize your store’s potential, purchase a POS solution that makes management a breeze and empowers you to make informed improvements.