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.
See Misc Services page for travel, admin services and more.
- 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 Redistributing goods from manufacturers and retailers. Goods range from cleaning products and toiletries, to clothing, toys and nursery items. Refurbished laptops, desktops and photocopiers are also supplied. Register to be able to browse an online catalogue – there is a handling charge for using the service, generally 10-20% of the retail value of the goods, and includes delivery costs. Phone 020 7398 5510,r email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- Ethical Stationery 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”.
- Charity Digital Exchange, previously tt-exchange/Charity Technology Exchange. Eligible charities can obtain donated software from various tech companies such as Microsoft, 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.
- 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 couldn’t 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
- Marler Haley is a large format print company which provides portable exhibition displays such as banner stands, PVC outdoor banners, tablecloths and much more besides to a large number of charities, big and small.
- 3Space “is a charity which works in partnership with landlords and leaseholders to offer organisations that benefit the community temporary free of charge access to otherwise empty properties”.
- Ethical Property Company continues to develop of office centres around the country specifically for voluntary organisations or social enterprises.
- CAN Mezzanine in London and Bristol is run by a social enterprise to provide affordable, high-quality office space for charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises.
- VSC (Voluntary Sector Centres) has some Charity Centres letting out office space below market rates.
There are a number of other social enterprise initiatives around the country – keep your ears to the ground, as buildings tend to fill quickly.
- 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.
Recycling your equipment
If you are upgrading IT systems, making old computers redundant, renewing furniture etc. check out Resource Extra – Environmental Impact.
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.
- Microsoft had a UK software donation programme, now replaced by TT Exchange (previously Charity Technology Exchange) – see under Computers above.
- 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.