Follow the trail
Suppliers with products targeted at, or particularly relevant to, the voluntary sector, charities; General charity deals/sources.
We would welcome more info on special offers or arrangements for voluntary organisations. Don't forget that students or educational establishments can often get special deals too, especially on software.
- Starting points.
- General Supplies, consortium purchasing.
- Specifics: Computers, Delivery, Display, Premises, Publicity materials, Recycled/Recycling, Software, Telecoms, Utilities.
- Go to the Services Introduction page for companies providing services like outsourcing, admin or travel management, rather than goods. Also for index to other types of services providers.
- Printing firms are under Services - Design and Print. Contact/communication centres on Media Services.
- See our Buy Publications Online.
A good starting point if you are looking to purchase (or rent) new equipment is What to Buy for Business. Find it in your local (business) reference library, as you need to locate the most recent round-up of the area you are interested in.
Business Equipment Contracts: How To Avoid The Pitfalls is from NCVO, (1996, ISBN 0 7199 1509 0, £5-00) in association with the Photocopier and Business Equipment Users Association. See Publishers page re NCVO. A guide to buying and leasing photocopiers and fax equipment with an explanation of finance contracts.
For equipment generally, remember that it's not just the initial purchase price that matters - running costs and therefore 'total cost of ownership' (TCO) can vary a lot.
You may find the 'computer replacement strategy' (in Word format), drafted by Paul Ticher in connection with a UKRiders discussion, of interest.
There is a Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, for those who are professionals in this area.
Charities Buying Group# is a bulk purchasing arrangement set up by disabled support charity Leonard Cheshire. While big names are signed up, they also welcome small to medium charities. Can provide savings on general areas such as stationery, office equipment and utilities, but also more specialist (mainly care) stuff. Phone 020 7802 8280.
InKindDirect. A voluntary sector clearing house for surplus goods from manufacturers and retailers. Goods range from toys to toiletries, kitchen appliances to flooring. Refurbished photocopiers are also supplied. You have to register first (the annual fee has been dropped at Feb 08), and pay any handling charges. The service is now delivered through a live online catalogue shwoing what is currently available, and there are now small packs as well as large bulk packs (which used to be a problem for some). 11-15 Monument Street, London EC3R 8JU, phone 020 7714 3930, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
London Re-Use (was Green-Works) recycles redundant furniture and office equipment, for re-sale at low prices to voluntary organisations. Phone 0845 230 2231.
NCVO have negotiated various discounts for their members and also some which extend to non-members.
Other sector bodies have arranged some supplier discounts for members.
Viking Direct Office supplies website is worth registering on, if only to make price comparisons with the above. Useful to get the full printed catalogue, then you can look up a current price on just about any office item. Euroffice is a web-based rival, with simple and cheap pricing.
The Green Desk is a social enterprise that aims to provide a complete range of ecologically responsible office supplies and services. They claim transparent pricing - "No gimmicks, no expensive catalogues, no price hikes".
Charities Technology Trust launched Charity Technology Exchange in July 2006. Eligible charities can obtain donated software from Microsoft (replacing the old Microsoft Giving programme) and networking equipment from Cisco. A small administration fee is payable, but charities still make savings of over 90% on normal list price.
Computers for Charities is also worth checking (it is a registered charity).
IT for Charities has a further list of suppliers of recycled machines and discounted supplies.
InkCart Xpress supplies printer ink cartridges and laser toner and other computer consumables with a cartridge recycling scheme with proceeds going to the RSPCA. Also supply recycled cartridges and toner. (There are likely to be other such firms around.)
- Suppliers Directory from Lasa, an advice services umbrella charity, lists suppliers of ICT products and services in England which have been vetted to some degree.
- DHL# We understand they have a reduced tariff for registered charities for those regularly using international express. This can save over 60 per cent on both inbound and outbound international document and parcel express, as well as a significant discount on international mail. We couldnt find info on the website, so we suggest contacting your local DHL office.
Display stands, Exhibitions
- PEP Ltd Hire of stands, as well
as affordable but practical display systems and stands. Will demonstrate.
Phone 0800 652 6565, email: email@example.com
- Alpha Communications Design, installation etc. Third sector specialists (they're a coop). Phone 0191 375 0101, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charity Logistics, now merged with VSC (Voluntary Sector Centres), has a number of Charity Centres in London. They also run the Charity Disaster Recovery Network which has a network of vacant office space in England and Wales available to members as emergency accommodation/facilities.
Ethical Property Company has developed a number of office centres around the country specifically for voluntary organisations or social enterprises, with more to come.
- CAN Mezzanine in London and Bristol is run by social enterprise Community Action Network, to provide affordable, high-quality office space for charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises.
There are a number of other social enterprise initiatives around the country - keep your ears to the ground, as buildings tend to fill quickly.
Those suppliers who do more than purely fundraising items.
- Tallai/charitysupplies.com Awareness ribbons, car stickers, printing and mailing services.
Green Stationery Company Studio One, 114 Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BG, phone 01225 480556, email: email@example.com
PaperBack 'the name in recycled paper' Phone 020 8980 5580.
- Buy Recycled for further listings of recycled materials.
Recycling your equipment
If you are upgrading IT systems, making old computers redundant, renewing furniture etc. check out Resource Extra - Environmental Impact.
See Accounts Software or Membership Software pages for suppliers in those specialist areas, and also the Computer Services listing page. And don't forget that there may be Open Source solutions covering what you want, such as Open Office.
There are various charity discounts available for Microsoft and other products. The different options can be quite confusing and even those resellers with a particular sector focus can be unclear at times on criteria for the discounts.
The following four suppliers are part of a discount scheme for NCVO member organisations where some of the restrictions around licence volumes etc may be waived. They are also a good place for non-members to start, too, for Microsoft or other software.
- Akhter Computers# Phone 01279 821202, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Entec Phone 01462 499599, email: email@example.com
- Phoenix Software Ltd Blenheim House, York Road, Pocklington, York, YO42 1NS, phone 0845 265 1265, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pugh Computers Denver House, Llanon, Aberystwyth, SY23 5LP, phone 01974 200201, email: email@example.com
WCVA members (Welsh equivalent of NCVO) and SCVO members (Scotland) should contact Pugh Computers re above discounts.
Charity Logistics (now VSC) has set up deals on Microsoft software with Civica LicenceToClick, saving in the region of 25 to 33% for registered charities. There are charity or educational discounts on other software too. Phone 020 7760 2800
Microsoft had a UK software donation programme, now replaced by Charity Technology Exchange - see under Computers above). Also see the qualifying criteria for educational discounts.
Microsoft criteria for educational licences (at spring 06) says:
A charitable* organisation that operates on a not-for-profit basis and whose aim is i) the relief of poverty; ii) the advancement of education; iii) the advancement of social and community welfare; iv) the advancement of culture or v) the advancement of the natural environment. * In the UK this includes not-for-profit companies limited by guarantee and other community-based organisations in the voluntary and community sector. It does not include commercial training companies or profit-making organisations.
- The Phone Co-op 'was founded
because it identified a need for organisations in the Third Sector
or Social Economy to have access to affordable telecommunications'.
They did have a Third Sector Tariff available to charities, non-profits,
co-ops, public sector, but its disappeared from the website (Jan 06).
Phone 0870 458 2000, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Ofcom
PASS (Price Assurance Standard) is meant to help provide clear price
comparisons (residential lines).
- CLASS Systems have special deals negotiated on behalf of NCVO, including a tariff open to non-members. Phone 0800 018 6992.
Charities are exempt from the climate change levy if business use is less than 40% of the total. Check to see if this applies to your organisation, and get billed correctly. There is also an issue around the rate of VAT on energy supplies where non-business use (e.g. services funded by grant, donations rather than by contract) should be eligible for the VAT rate charged on domestic bills (5%). See info on MakeItCheaper website.