Every time a CommUnity member shops at a participating CommUnity merchant, a small percentage of the transaction is given to up to three community groups or charities chosen by the member when they registered (and which can be changed at any time).
The ways that community groups and charities have traditionally funded their activities have traditionally focused heavily on seeking sponsorship and on direct fundraising drives. But seeking sponsorship is difficult and time-consuming for both the community group and the merchant. Each deal requires a great deal of time and effort to negotiate, meaning that any one community group or merchant can only realistically sustain a few such arrangements. Therefore each agreement must be for a comparatively large sum. 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 they have no way to accurately measure whether this is being achieved. Nor can even the most generous of merchants afford to directly sponsor everyone who 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, they cannot be sustained for long periods. Nor can they have a large geographic reach without incurring significant additional expenses that must ultimately be deducted from the total raised. The result? Community groups and charities that are either chronically underfunded or must focus relentlessly on money to the detriment of their work.
CommUnity is a revolutionary new company that aims to leverage 21st century tools to provide a better way for community groups, charities and merchants to mutually benefit one another. CommUnity is about raising money on a continuous basis without taking time away from the business of merchants or the work of community groups. Using smartphones and the internet, and through our partnership with Paymark, CommUnity takes on the work of fostering and maintaining the relationships between your community group and its benefactors; between your business and its customers; between you and your community. CommUnity frees you up to focus on what’s truly important to you.
CommUnity is free for individual members or community groups to join. Community groups register with CommUnity, CommUnity Members can then select up to three registered community groups to support with their spending at participating merchants. Merchants pay a small fee to register with CommUnity and will benefit by being added to our list of participating merchants and being actively promoted to CommUnity Members. CommUnity Merchants also benefit by forming stronger bonds with their local communities, differentiating themselves from global brands and retailers who have few incentives to give back at the community level. Add to this the ability to use the CommUnity dashboard to see exactly how much business their participation is generating, freedom from complex card-based loyalty schemes, and finally having a positive and constructive answer for all those heartfelt requests for sponsorship and it’s not hard to see that with CommUnity, everyone wins!
As CommUnity grows, we also plan to offer a private fund which a community group or charity will be able to apply to for lump sum funding of capital projects, one-off projects and events, or to meet those additional expenditure requirements all such groups encounter from time to time. Who receives grants from this fund and the percentage (up to 100%) funded will be at the discretion of CommUnity. We hope to have this fund ready for applications by our third year in operation. Watch our website and the CommUnity app for more!
We chose this name because it perfectly captures the spirit of what we're trying to do. We provide the means for mates to help each other out. And it is our hope that CommUnity (both the word and the app) will increasingly be used in this way, not just in New Zealand, but all around the globe.
It’s no secret that retail is going global. Overseas manufacturing and the internet have made it possible for a handful of large companies to reach customers anywhere in the world. While this has brought many benefits for consumers, it has also come with a cost. All around New Zealand, local merchants have struggled to retain customers in the face of well-resourced global competitors who benefit from vast economies of scale and fewer business overheads, and who have far fewer incentives to return anything to the communities of the individuals who shop with them. This not only damages local communities by depriving them of necessary businesses and job opportunities, it also damages the entire country by removing potential profits from the economy. And unless consumers are given reasons to support local merchants, this harm will only grow.
Here at CommUnity we believe the best way to remedy this is to forge connections between merchants and their customers that go beyond finding the cheapest price; connections that neither party will want to break. By bringing everyone together in service of the local community groups and charities that matter to them, CommUnity hopes to enable these connections.
We’re just starting out now, but our aim is to bring CommUnity to get as many New Zealand merchants as possible involved and contributing as much as they can, so that the maximum amount of money is raised and invested back into our communities. Once established, we aim to operate CommUnity on 5-10% of generated revenue, with everything else going back to New Zealand communities and charities via grants from a charitable fund. And you won't need to take our word for it, as our accounts will be independently audited regularly to make sure that we are honouring our commitment to New Zealand communities. Because we believe that New Zealand’s future will be determined by the vibrancy of its communities, and that flourishing communities are the bedrock of a stable country.
CommUnity - It’s just better business!
Turning Commerce into Community
During his long and varied career, John has both coached international athletes across several sports and has been an international professional athlete himself. His international sports consultancy can count several prominent sporting organisations, both national and international, among its clients. He has also worked in the sporting media, and has founded multiple sport and physical activity related educational organisations which offer everything from short community courses to tertiary degrees in sport and physical activity.
John has also overseen the funding and construction of large sporting facilities, has managed and led new sport and physical activity organisations, and helped to launch a chain of organisations promoting sporting participation in two countries. He has also developed computer programs to help make both sporting organisations and the corporate world more accountable.
With John's experience, skill sets and his ability to build long term relationships he will drive CommUnity from the top to be New Zealand's primary funding provider to all community groups and make New Zealand a better place to live, work and play.
John is the senior equity partner at Beattie Rickman Legal in Hamilton where one of his specialties is Sports Law. In addition to acting as a lawyer for several international sports athletes and national sports organisations, John also lectures in Sports Law at the University of Waikato.
Johns sits on several boards and clubs including the Independent Schools Council of New Zealand and the Board of the Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society. John has also captained two first class New Zealand cricket sides.
John is the 'legal brains' behind CommUnity and will apply his wealth of knowledge to support CommUnity and all it's components through his legal experience and wisdom.
Simon has been involved in the Telecommunications industry for the past 18 years, both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. During that time, he has both owned his own high profile Vodafone dealership and worked for Spark as a Senior Business Consultant. Having also been a merchant for over a decade, Simon understands the trials and tribulations of running a business, the costs associated with sponsorship and trying to track the returns (if any) from loyal customers.
Simon can emphasise with merchants, the stress of running a business while trying to maintain a healthy relationship with customers and retaining loyal staff to keep the business profitable. CommUnity will benefit merchants in so many ways that he only wishes this program was around during his time as a merchant!
Since leaving the industry, he has set up his own business and now spends his time designing customised smartphone apps, websites and shopping carts for businesses. Which is how he came to meet the two Johns and got involved with the design, implementation and rollout of CommUnity. Simon is looking forward to building close working relationships with everyone in the CommUnity ecosystem to deliver real benefits to local communities and hard working merchants.
We see CommUnity primarily as a tool for enabling and enhancing relationships. And healthy relationships require communication. So, whether you are a community group or charity, a participating business, or simply a shopper looking to do as much good as possible with your money, CommUnity helps put you in touch and keep you in touch with one another.
In addition to all of this, we update our app and our website constantly, making sure that all the details CommUnity holds about participating merchants and the community groups who benefit is up-to-the-minute and at everyone’s fingertips. CommUnity will also actively promote the program using both traditional and online media, and will soon have staff on the ground all over New Zealand, actively presenting the benefits of CommUnity to community groups and merchants and helping expand your reach.
CommUnity - Keeping you connected to your community.