A new initiative that generates funding for New Zealand community groups will launch on 17th March. It is called CommUnity and is designed to connect shoppers, merchants and community groups in a way that will put money back into local communities.
CommUnity founder, John Parker, said CommUnity’s purpose is to generate funds for Kiwi community groups and is committed to giving money back to the community easing the constant pressure community groups face having to fundraise.
“With CommUnity, everyone benefits,” said Parker. “Community groups win because they get untagged funds they don’t have to apply or fundraise for, members win because they can feel great knowing they are supporting community groups they care about, and merchants win by having members directed to their shop and access to valuable insights into the members shopping habits.”
The beauty of the program is its simplicity. Shoppers and community groups register with CommUnity as CommUnity Members and/or as a CommUnity Groups. When members shop in-store or online with participating CommUnity Merchants, a small percentage of each transaction goes to the members chosen groups.
Members choose up to three groups to support. The groups can be any registered non-profit or charity including sports, music, arts, health, education, sustainability, cultural or religious groups. A member might nominate a local school, sports team and an animal shelter as their groups to support.
On joining, members nominate a bank account to link to CommUnity through a secure third party. When a purchase is made with a CommUnity Merchant, using the nominated account, the transaction is recognised allowing a small percentage to be donated to the members chosen groups.
Merchants will be recognisable by an A-frame in-store, logo’s on websites or advertising in store windows. Members will also be able to locate merchants through the CommUnity app. Merchants pay a small annual listing fee and, for every purchase made by a member, donates a small percentage of transactions to CommUnity. CommUnity then deposit 60% of the total amount raised into the relevant group accounts. The remaining 40% goes into ‘The CommUnity Fund’ where all money, after operating expenses, goes back to the community through an application process designed to cater for future projects or programs. This way CommUnity is providing untagged funds for annual operations (the 60%) as well as allowing groups to apply for funding for specific projects or costs.
While the initiative allows shoppers to funnel money into their local groups, the aim of CommUnity is to provide a platform that could be used throughout New Zealand. So a purchase made by a member while travelling or on holiday would still reach their chosen community groups. Alternatively, members could choose to support the club or schools of family who live on the other side of the country – simply by purchasing a coffee at their local CommUnity merchant cafe.
“We’re growing our team nationwide and recruiting over 130 ambassadors in New Zealand to sign up merchants through a commission based remuneration approach to ensure we get the reach while keeping operating costs to a minimum. It’s the perfect time for merchants to get on board and benefit from having a presence for when we launch in March,” Parker said.
CommUnity IT and Operations Manager, Simon Wills, said the initiative had been years in planning, but availability of the technology required to make the process easy and secure for all parties had only recently become available.
“It was important for us to have seamless and secure platforms in place before bringing CommUnity into the market. We’ve partnered with Yodlee, who are a global leader in banking technology and who have more than 70 million users worldwide. Yodlee simply provides us with transactional data to invoice merchants and pass on to community groups,” Wills said
Technology isn’t the only reason that Parker believes that now is the right time to introduce CommUnity.
“With everything that is happening globally, there’s a real sense of the need to support and look after each other,” he said. “Kiwis are realising what we have to offer in our own back yard and recognising the value we have in all the organisations that make up our communities. Supporting each other is part of what makes New Zealand such a special place and CommUnity’s purpose is to ensure this continues.”
To find out more information about CommUnity or to register visit www.comm-unity.kiwi
P: 0800 782 888