The currency of kindness online
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.