The cur­rency of kind­ness on­line

Christchurch Mail - - GARDENING - MONIQUE STEELE

A group of Cantabri­ans have started a so­cial en­ter­prise which they be­lieve will rev­o­lu­tionise the way char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions in the com­mu­nity raise funds.

Web­fair is a new on­line auc­tion web­site which en­ables com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions like char­i­ties or schools to fundraise much­needed cash through user­gen­er­ated sales.

‘‘Think charity auc­tion meets the white ele­phant stall,’’ said Web­fair direc­tor Donna Mor­ris.

Mor­ris said the trans­ac­tions were ’’win-win’’ – buy­ers got a bar­gain, gifters (sell­ers) got rid of prod­ucts they no longer needed, and funds went to their cho­sen or­gan­i­sa­tion.

‘‘We’ve looked world­wide and we can’t find any­one who is do­ing this. It’s re­ally ob­vi­ous this is a good thing but no­body’s do­ing it,’’ Mor­ris said.

Based out of Mor­ris’ Lin­coln home, the team – in­clud­ing her daugh­ter Kelsey Waghorne, son Ben Hawes, and friends Craig Coote and Jane Grof­ski – has met weekly since early 2016 to bring the idea to life.

‘‘It’s been a lot of fun,’’ said direc­tor Donna Mor­ris.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing, it’s like ‘wow, we found some­thing we can spend time on, we found our pur­pose.’’’

Mor­ris quit her pre­vi­ous full­time job in fi­nance in March 2016 to work on de­vel­op­ing the web­site and its busi­ness plan. Sick of the greed­i­ness within the fi­nance sec­tor, she said she wanted a ca­reer with a con­science.

Her daugh­ter Kelsey Waghorne fol­lowed not long be­hind, quit­ting her job ‘‘work­ing for the man’’ in in­sur­ance this year to com­mit to Web­fair full­time.

‘‘There’s no point sit­ting in an old folks home won­der­ing,’’ Mor­ris said.

‘‘If the com­mu­nity pick it up, it could do some­thing amaz­ing.’’

The web­site launched in June, rais­ing more than $7000 for 15 lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Fill Their Lunch­box, Chol­monde­ley Chil­dren’s Cen­tre and Gap­filler.

‘‘Peo­ple seemed to want to in­ter­act with it, so let’s keep do­ing it.’’

Gap­filler re­ceived more than $1500 from gifts in­clud­ing din­ner and dessert vouch­ers which op­er­a­tions direc­tor Rachael Wel­fare said was a ‘‘triple win’’. She said for small, not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Gap­filler, nav­i­gat­ing the fundrais­ing pool was dif­fi­cult.

‘‘Christchurch saw a huge in­flux of or­gan­i­sa­tions after the earth­quake, like us. Seven years down the track we’d still like to be around, but there’s just not enough money to around for ev­ery­one,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a con­stant hus­tle to get that lit­tle bit of fund­ing.’’

De­duc­tions from each sale on the site are a flat fee of $1 per sale and bank fees for the buyer, at no cost to the gifter.

‘‘Ev­ery­one knows ex­actly where their money is go­ing,’’ Mor­ris said.

How­ever, the fu­ture of the en­ter­prise re­lies on the up­take from the com­mu­nity it aims to serve. The team works vol­un­tar­ily, and un­til the web­site can make rev­enue through ad­ver­tis­ing, the Web­fair team will not see a cent, which can­not con­tinue for­ever, Mor­ris said.

‘‘We’ve bought this for the com­mu­nity but it’s out of our hands now. We’re hop­ing New Zealan­ders will pick up the plat­form and re­ally en­joy the gift­ing and giv­ing to the com­mu­nity.’’


The Web­fair team: Craig Coote, Jane Grof­ski, Donna Mor­ris, Ben Hawes and Kelsey Waghorn.

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