Community Group FAQs

Will CommUnity cost my community group or charity anything?

No. 

CommUnity is free  for CommUnity Groups. More importantly, CommUnity requires no time investment from your organisation. We handle most of the administration for you, freeing you to focus on the true purpose of your organisation. 

Can any organisation register as a CommUnity Group?

Any organisation that is legally registered as a community group or charity with the New Zealand Companies Office is eligible to become a CommUnity Group. CommUnity will verify this status when you first register with us. 

Can CommUnity Members change which groups receive their spending allocation?

Yes. 

CommUnity Members can login to their account using the CommUnity website or app and change which (and how many) Community Groups they choose to support at any time, which updates instantaneously.  

Do transactions with CommUnity Merchants outside of my local area still contribute to my group?

Yes. 

It doesn’t matter if a CommUnity Member lives in Invercargill and goes on holiday in Kaitaia. Any time he/she shops in-store or online with a CommUnity Merchant, no matter where they are in New Zealand, he/she will be raising funds for his/her chosen CommUnity Groups (wherever they might be). 

How often are CommUnity funds distributed?

CommUnity keeps track of how much CommUnity Members who have chosen to support your Community Group have spent with CommUnity Merchants, and will deposit the total into your nominated bank account once every quarter. 

How can we make CommUnity work even better for our community organisation?

As a registered CommUnity Group, you can increase your potential benefits from CommUnity by encouraging your members, associates, friends and family to become CommUnity Members and to select your group as a recipient of a percentage of their spending with CommUnity Merchants. Once registered, your CommUnity Group can access and download resources from the website such as flyers, posters and leaflets encouraging your supporters to register as members.  The more CommUnity Members you can enlist as your supporters and the more business you can direct to CommUnity Merchants, the more revenue you can generate to fund your community groups activities! 

 

It appears that everyone wins with CommUnity Is that correct?

Yes. 

As a CommUnity Member, you win by directly supporting the causes that are important to you while you shop.  Less fundraising costs and time also helps members. 

CommUnity Groups win by gaining access to an untagged revenue stream that, unlike existing fundraising models, does not divert them from their true purpose as an organisation. 

While funds circulate through CommUnity Merchants, Merchants win by giving customers a powerful incentive to do business with them rather than global online retailers. They also win by having CommUnity handle all the customer loyalty administration for them and by no longer having cumbersome loyalty cards for customers to remember to carry and for their staff to process at the checkout. Plus, they get to show their support for the community that supports them. They fulfil their corporate social responsibility in a way that everyone understands. 

Will CommUnity Groups be able to see how much money has been raised for them?

Yes. 

Anyone you authorise to login to your CommUnity Group account can see precisely how much money has been raised for your organisation. You will receive funds every quarter, appropriate to the total money generated for you for the previous month. This information is updated in real time, so you will know ahead of time how much you can expect your next payment to be. You can also track how your CommUnity income has changed over time, and project those trends into the future to help you plan ahead.

How often are local businesses approached for sponsorship?

Businesses, both large and small, are regularly approached for sponsorship by a far greater number of community groups than even the most prosperous and generous merchant could possibly say ‘yes’ to. 

This presents an ongoing problem for merchants. If they sponsor one community group, another group who was unsuccessful in gaining their sponsorship may take offence and boycott their business. In addition, sponsorship agreements are difficult and time-consuming to negotiate, and there is often no way for a business owner to tell whether these agreements are succeeding in bringing additional customers to their business. 

CommUnity finally gives merchants a positive answer to the requests for sponsorship from community groups and charities that they would otherwise have had to refuse. By becoming a CommUnity Merchant and encouraging those community groups and their members to also join CommUnity, the Merchant will be supporting those groups that are the most important to their customers. They will be able to give back to the communities that support them while no longer having to play favourites and run the risk of upsetting sections of their community. With CommUnity, CommUnity Merchants only pay when a CommUnity Member makes a purchase with them. For a CommUnity Merchant, there is no more paying money out before money comes in. Everyone wins! 

How do community groups and charities raise money now?

Before CommUnity, community groups and charities raised money by applying for grants and sponsorship deals, or from direct fundraising activities such as sausage sizzles, cake stalls, or by simply requesting donations. But these methods have significant drawbacks. 

There are always a far greater number of deserving recipients than there is grant money to go around, the same applies to sponsorship requests. There is little if any untagged money that community groups can spend on whatever they choose. 

Seeking private sponsorship is difficult and time-consuming for both the community group and the merchant. Each approach requires a great deal of time and effort to prepare, meaning that any one community group or merchant can only realistically sustain a few such arrangements. For the community group, the hope is that by offering naming rights or advertising space, they can generate funding for their activities. But there is only so much advertising space they can offer and only so many things they can name. For the merchant, the hope is that their endorsement of a community group or charity will bring customers to their business. But few have methods of accurately measuring whether this is being achieved. Nor can even the most generous of merchants afford to directly sponsoreveryonewho asks. 

Direct fundraising is similarly problematic. Fundraising drives are often time-consuming to the point where they overshadow the primary purpose of the organisation and diminish the satisfaction of participation. Because of this, funding methods are difficult to sustain for long periods. Fundraising often has costs which diminishes the funds that can be raised for the organisation’s activities. Unfortunately, the result often means Community groups and charities are either chronically underfunded or must focus relentlessly on money to the detriment of their work. CommUnity will significantly help with these funding issues.

 

How will CommUnity support itself?

CommUnity was founded with one singular purpose: to deliver as much money to Kiwi communities as possible. A primarily online company with no physical product to manufacture or sell, CommUnity is focused exclusively on creating and maintaining working relationships between New Zealand merchants, the consumer and their communities. We believe that New Zealand’s future will be determined by the vibrancy of its communities. 

To achieve this, CommUnity has been built from the ground up to be lean and agile, operating with the fewest possible overhead expenses. In fact, once we get established, we aim to operate CommUnity on just 3-8% of generated revenue, witheverything elsegoing back to New Zealand community groups and charities. 

Is registration complicated?

We have tried to keep registration as simple as possible, however there is information we need to be able to keep merchants, community groups and shoppers supporting each other.

There is no way around registration, and we hope you can put up with the process as we know the outcomes will be well worth your time and you can be assured, we have kept the registration process as simple as possible and very confidential.

Will the purchases I make that do not involve credit/debit cards contribute to my chosen three groups?

Yes absolutely! We can access and calculate contributions from all payment transactions and purchases (except cash payments) made at any CommUnity merchant where a member pays via direct credit (bank to bank), smartphone banking apps, Buy Now/Pay Later, eftpos, debit and credit card transactions as some examples.

Do we need to update our account details?

It would be of great help if you kept all your details relating your account/registration updated, this will ensure that the funds keep flowing to your CommUnity Group from your supporters (members). 

This includes your bank account details should they change or if your group changes banks.

Will I have a record of the funds I have generated and to whom?

Everyone that registers with CommUnity – Members, Merchants and Community Groups – will have a private account that is username and password protected, where you will see a range of very useful information including money generated, totals received by each group you have chosen (historically as well), a ‘Promotions’ component directing you to CommUnity merchants, an ability to invite your friends to be part of CommUnity and manage your personal information. This information is yours that only you can share with people you choose. 

Can I change who I support?

You can change who you support anytime you like. The CommUnity App and website will keep a historical record of everything you have generated in CommUnity no matter how many times you change who you support. 

What is a community group?

A community group is a registered group that is recognised by the Companies Office.

It is possible to have a group that is not recognised by the Companies office but that group or the people running that group would have to convince CommUnity that they are responsible and could and would abide with the requirements of CommUnity. These groups will come under headings such as health, welfare, sport, arts, music, religion, education, sustainability, recreation and cultural groups. 

Could a Bogus company make money from CommUnity?

We believe it would be very difficult for a community group that has improper purposes and that’s not legal or appropriately managed, to significant benefit from CommUnity. The group involved would have to convince people to contribute to the group that few would be aware of, and therefore would have few followers.  he bogus groups are unlikely to gain funds from The CommUnity Fund as our people will check out every application separately. CommUnity will be constantly checking on the authenticity of our CommUnity Groups. 

How can I get my friends involved?

There is a Send an Invite tab in your account (enter through the login section on the top right of the Home Page) where you can send invites to your friends to be a CommUnity Member, Merchant or a recipient Community Group.

It is possible for spreadsheet databases to be included in the Send an Invite process. Remember, the more people involved, the more the Community Groups benefit. 

Is there any risk to our community group?

There is NO risk to your community group. 

You will receive funds into your bank account every quarter for putting little to no effort in and you can spend those funds anyway you want – this money is untagged. 

The CommUnity Fund is tagged and relates to commitment within the application. These funds will be audited and may be asked to be paid back if they are not used for the authorised purposes.

This application process will not be demanding and successful applications could apply to a number of years depending on the requirements. 

Will merchants within our community group benefit from being part of CommUnity?

Merchants within your community group have up till now, probably felt uncomfortable about promoting their business to fellow group members as most members (rightly or wrongly) feel the merchant is making money at their expense. Now everyone is comfortable as the Merchant is contributing to the community group and will get more support from the members (assuming they are a good trader) as their community group benefits, and in turn the members save money and gain more enjoyment from a more activity focused community group. 

Can recipient CommUnity Groups spend the ongoing funding anyway they wish?

Yes this is untagged money. Successful applications to The CommUnity Fund is separate as there will be audits on successful applicants as this money is tagged to specific future projects and programs, but will not be an exhaustive process for honest, well managed CommUnity Groups. 

When applying to The CommUnity Fund for the funding of future projects or programs, is this process time consuming?

No, we hope it won’t be, however there is information we need to gather and assurances we need to hand out money responsibly. 

There will also be standards that organisations must operate by, but again these should not be suffocating for well managed community groups. 

Do all funds raised by CommUnity go back to the community?

All funds will go back to the community in one of two ways. Members can select up to three community groups to support and can change them at any stage. 

CommUnity directs 60% of the income generated from each transaction made by a CommUnity Member at a CommUnity Merchants, to those community groups chosen by the CommUnity member equally (if there are more than one selected by each member).  

This money is untagged, and the recipient CommUnity Group(s) can spend it how they wish. 

The other 40% goes into a fund called The CommUnity Fund, and after operational costs, will be distributed to the community by way of application, where it is possible (but not guaranteed) a project or program could be funded up to 100% of the cost. 

The application process will be as brief and as straight forward as possible and depending on the needs, may not require significant time and can span over several years potentially.  

These grants will be subject to ‘audits’ by CommUnity and may need to be repaid if they are not spent as understood by CommUnity. 

The CommUnity Fund may take two or three years to have enough funds to distribute, but we will keep everyone up to date with progress. Our aim is to at least equal the amount of money going into the community that Gaming Machines provide. 

How do we know how many of our members are supporting our organisation?

Your authorised CommUnity Group administrator will have access to the up to date reports. You will have the ability to ‘log in’ as a community group, where you will have the minute reports, giving you certain information. For example, you will have information relating to the following; funds raised for your Community Group, number of Members supporting your Community Group and Top Merchants supporting your Community Group.

These reports will give you the information you need to see whether you are doing a good job communicating the funding opportunity to your members. If your members have not chosen your CommUnity Group as one of their three options, then you might ask your management people, why? You will also get an indicator of this from how much is being raised for your community group, however the number of members supporting your community group against the number of members your organisation has, is the best indicator. 

Can community groups/charities that receive funds from CommUnity then pass that money on to other groups?

Yes, if people want to choose a community group that allocates to other community groups that is fine. There may be umbrella groups that act on behalf of others and they will not be differentiated against– it is the CommUnity Members choice where their allocated funds go.

Can the recipient group of any Community funds be an overseas based group?

People will decide who gets their chosen allocation and will need to be from the list of community groups provided in the registration process or added to by CommUnity upon prompting. 

Certainly successful applicants from The CommUnity Fund could be from outside New Zealand. It is important to point out that CommUnity is focused on helping New Zealand community groups primarily. 

Should CommUnity be our major funding focus perhaps?

Most if not all community groups are in need of funds or could spend more funds if they were available. CommUnity provides a source of ongoing untagged funds – one of the few sources of  untagged  money available (you can spend the quarterly money how you want). These funds from CommUnity are generated by your members/supporterscosts you nothing and could continue for ever.  Adding to this, CommUnity has The CommUnity Fund where you can apply for funds (up to 100% of the cost) for a future project or program. Thereforewith CommUnity you have untagged day to day funding assistance (annual operations) and the potential for the funding of future projects and programs. 

The end result might be that if you manage your funds well, you will have more and happier members gaining more benefits from the activities of your community groups rather than forever worrying about money. 

Have you heard of ‘mana from heaven’, well this is close!! 

How do you suggest we promote CommUnity to our members?

CommUnity suggests you have people within your organisation, tasked with being CommUnity Project people who might; 

  • Ensure all members are signed up to CommUnity. This might be done through social evenings and with group registrations done altogether on their phones. This has benefits as you can get them to identify your CommUnity Group as a recipient group on the spot, increasing the ongoing income to your organisation. 
  • Encourage your members to Send an Invite to their friends and whanau once they have successfully registered. Remember, the more CommUnity Members you have choosing your CommUnity Group as one of their (up to) three options, the more money you have coming in regularly. 
  • Encourage your members to get their networks (friends and whanau) to register and choose your CommUnity Group as one of their (up to) three recipient groups. 
  • Use Send an Invite to everyone on your database encouraging them all to become CommUnity Members. 
  • Each week (or on your regular schedule), remind all your database about CommUnity and how they should use the CommUnity app to shop at CommUnity Merchantsas they will be raising funds for your CommUnity Group 
  • Use your social media processes to remind your members to shop at CommUnity Merchants, as when they do, they will be supporting your community organisation. 
  • Use all your communication methods to ensure everyone shops at CommUnity Merchants as you will benefit. 
  • Display the resources we will send to your CommUnity Group. Posters, brochures, template emails etc. 
What effect has COVID-19 had on CommUnity?

We have learnt many things through the COVID-19 process with the main one being that we must work together to help each other.  We must be kind to each other and care for people around us.  

With CommUnity, the whole focus is on working together so everyone wins.  

For Merchants (retailers) to stay in business they need shoppers they can rely on and for shoppers to maintain their mental and social health, they need to participate in challenging activities (community groups) outside of work hours. A lot of these activities (community groups) that CommUnity will support, care for each other and/or the environment as well as develop skills that will have a positive impact on others, in all sorts of areas such as sport, music, recreation, cultural, art, education and health.  All of these areas plus religion and social welfare involve people interacting with others and virtually all of these people are shoppers. 

Merchants working with community groups and shoppers supporting merchants is very promotable as CommUnity will, and this good news can be relayed across the country and will only generate more and more positive interactions. 

At present, merchants generally have their own individual loyalty programs that are focused on savings for individuals who then have to choose to be part of community groups where the focus mainly is one of existence (money)rather than the specific activity for which the community groups were started.  This support to individual New Zealanders is difficult for merchants to turn into positive promotions that might generate more and more positivity, due to personal information, privacy and such things. 

The present loyalty options are both multi-layered and confusing. 

CommUnity can operate alongside existing loyalty programs however COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for merchants to start again and be part of a program that is a level playing field for everyone and where money is generated rather than given.  Mental and social health is catered for and shoppers save money and time as their community groups have untagged money and shoppers have more time to be involved in the activities of each community group. 

Out of this crisis will come a positive, easy to understand the opportunity where our communities can work together so that everyone wins. Support of each other is a major component of what has made New Zealand a very special place and CommUnity will help ensure this can continue. It has real potential to play a major role in keeping New Zealand’s population engaged and aware. 

 

CommUnity – Turning Commerce into Community. 

Will our Community Group lose sponsors/money if we CommUnity due to our sponsors perhaps joining CommUnity and not doing as much sponsorship?

Sponsorships are often year by year agreements and depend very much on the economic climate. For most sponsorships they have a limited time, as sponsors often want to move on to the next community groups to support.

The effort a community group puts into the benefits sponsors require is also significant and always distracting at least and often very costly, plus the money is nearly always tagged to some project or program.

Also think of the merchant who is in a difficult position. They want customers and when they sponsor one group most other groups may not like them, so sponsorship can cause a divide.  Sponsors rarely know how many members of the groups they sponsor actually support them and therefore rarely know if the sponsorship is worthwhile.  They tend to feel it is worth it if they make a profit at the end of the year.

Sponsorship is difficult and some community groups might lose a sponsor however if they belong to CommUnity and manage the process as we suggest they will make much more through CommUnity and perhaps for ever.  Add to that the every quarter money will be untagged, virtually know administration (just encouragement of the members to participate) and the money gained through application is a simpler process and can be up to 100% of your application costs (no promises).

Will CommUnity make gaining funds easier for CommUnity Groups

If a community group was asked what are your biggest concerns with the present system/process for gaining funding, we suspect CommUnity would solve most if not all of those issues.

CommUnity groups might say;

  • Proposals to sponsors take a long time
  • The returns to sponsors are very demanding
  • You have to have a project in mind if you want funding
  • Filling out forms is nearly a full time job
  • Difficult to find funding for administration or leadership
  • Virtually no place to get untagged funding
  • If you are lucky enough to get funding, it rarely is the full amount and generally not enough to do much, as most funders want to spread money around.
  • Getting 70% from a sponsor or present funding organisation, is often more difficult than getting nothing as how do you get the other 30% as most of the major benefits have been agreed.
  • Most of the focus on the committee of a community group is around funding and therefore energy is taken away from organisational activities and therefore attracting more members
  • Committee members are difficult to get as most discussions seem to be about money. Most good people just want to do things
  • Good people don’t stay on committees as their energy is sapped during to most things being about money.
  • Community groups are bogged down due to money issues.

If you go back through those issues one by one you will see that CommUnity solves or helps all of those;

  • Proposals don’t take long – With CommUnity money just drops out of the sky every quarter
  • No returns required for the 60%, no administration just spend it!!
  • Don’t have to have a project in mind when you get the 60%. The process for the CommUnity Fund is much simpler and could be up to 100% of the cost.
  • The 60% is untagged and answers the next three points
  • The CommUnity Fund could be up to 100% if successful

Committee can focus more on activity as if they perform well they will have untagged funding for ever and therefore more likely to attract good committee members and therefore more activities might happen attracting more members and more members will generate more funding through CommUnity – and so it goes on.

Are there any benefits for a Community Group to register early?

If a community group is registered early it has a greater chance of being selected as one of a Members up to three options as they are already on the list. A lot of CommUnity Members will just choose groups from the present list as they just want to help.

We know it will take time to get all community groups registered however there may well be a significant benefits for those that register early.

Is CommUnity a registered charity?

Yes absolutely! Community Funds Limited trading as CommUnity is a registered New Zealand charity –  charity number CC59084

What people are saying about us

Sunny Nelson Real Fruit Ice Cream Josh

"I can see the vision of what CommUnity could be and I’m excited. A place where Kiwis back their neighbor to nourish their community.” – Josh, Sunny Nelson Real Fruit Ice Cream

The Incubator Creative Hub Simone Andersen and team

"The arts is often seen as a bit of an indulgence which we know is not true. It’s actually a massive necessity for wellness in society and personal wellness so we’re really excited that people get the opportunity to share some of their goodwill and see it distributed amongst the community," Simone Andersen, The Incubator Creative Hub

Hoppers Garden Bar Jessica and Brownyn Payne, Owners

“Living and working in a community, it’s been really important to find new and powerful ways to connect to our customers. Giving back to the community who support us everyday is really important to us and CommUnity allows us to do that in a really seamless way.” - Jessica and Brownyn Payne, Owners

Everlasting Anna Paterson – Founder / CEO

"We are so excited to be part of the CommUnity group. Through coming on board, it is going to allow us to do greater. Whether  this is by assisting women and families, in New Zealand, with finance or clothing - whatever the need, we love to give and the greater we can give the more impact we can have." - Anna Paterson – Founder / CEO, Everlasting

Fourviere New Zealand Michael Loretz, Fourviere NZ

“Together with CommUnity, local businesses and the families in our community, we can all take a confident stride towards heaven - right here, today!” - Michael Loretz, Director, Fourviere NZ

World Wildlife Fund NZ Livia Esterhazy, World Wildlife Fund

"We’re so excited to be on the CommUnity platform because it allows us to get on with our work and be part of communities and help them." - Livia Esterhazy, CEO, World Wildlife Fund

Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Life Saving Club

As a group that relies on donations, Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Life Saving Club is thrilled to have another platform to fundraise.

Rowing New Zealand Simon Peterson

"As a national sporting organisation we're constantly looking regionally and locally to support our members. CommUnity is a way of us supporting commercially, at a local level, and our volunteers, at a local level. For a national body to have that umbrella outlook is very exciting" said Rowing New Zealand's Simon Peterson.

Koha Apparel Phil Goff and Chlöe Swarbrick.

Providing clothing for New Zealanders doing it tough. In 2020 alone this not-for-profit kept close to 4,000 clothing items out of landfill by giving them a new life with those in need.

The Nest – Greymouth Tania Gibson - Grey District Mayor

"A way for businesses and community groups to fundraise in the new technology era. It will raise money for causes you care about while you shop. So watch this space, you will be hearing more about it in the coming months!" - Tania Gibson, Greg District Mayor.

Alpha Sports

“When we opened Alpha Sports we knew we wanted to give something back to local charities, community groups & organisations... for Alpha Sports, this was really important. CommUnity gives us the platform to be able to do that, and more. How could you say no to giving back to your local Community... the same people that support us every day? Let’s do this!” - Mike and Dean, Alpha Sports

New Zealand Alopecia

These incredible ladies are here to support people with Alopecia. NZ Alopecia is a place for Alopecia sufferers to learn more about their condition, to view new developments and to reach out and connect with others.

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