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PRESS RELEASE: NEW SOCIAL NETWORK SET TO CHANGE THE FACE OF “OLD SCHOOL” CORPORATE GIVING

neighbourly.com launched in Bristol last night




An innovative new social network, aimed at connecting community projects with companies, was launched in Bristol last night.

neighbourly.com has been developed by local entrepreneur Nick Davies and is the first digital platform to be created for the largely unstructured corporate giving sector within the UK, which is worth an estimated £800m.

The new social network was officially launched at The Engine Shed with local charities and the business community being urged to get involved.

neighbourly.com’s purpose is to provide a platform for community groups and charities to promote projects where corporate support is required but that might otherwise fall under the radar of larger businesses.

It offers a mapped database of local projects with information on the team, goals, supporters and what help is needed.

The website’s technology enables businesses interested in increasing CSR activity to quickly identify and follow the projects that are most relevant to them and in the right geographic area.

neighbourly.com has been in development for 18 months and the website has been live for the past five months to enable testing and development with a number of founder companies and projects.

Local businesses that have already pledged their support include Chartered Accountants and business advisory firm Mazars, who are currently working on a project with Bristol Zoo’s sister wildlife attraction, The Wild Place Project to create an outdoor learning space, BDO, BaNES Council and Friska.

The network has also captured the interest of national and international organisations with Marks & Spencer and Starbucks among the first companies to sign up to the scheme.

Nick Davies, founder and CEO, neighbourly says: “Businesses, both locally and nationally, are very aware of the need to demonstrate a robust CSR policy but translating that into actual activity and identifying the right projects to engage with can be complicated and time-consuming. At the same time we know that there are a huge number of relatively small, unknown charities and community projects out there desperate for support. We developed neighbourly.com in response to that – it provides a simple, yet effective means of bringing the two parties together. We’ve been excited by the response so far and now, with the development phase of the project at an end, we want to raise awareness of the network with local community groups and charities and also encourage the business community to get on board.”

Representatives from founder members Mazars and B&NES Council as well as Starbucks and Marks & Spencer attended today’s launch to speak about their involvement with neighbourly.com and the role CSR plays within their organisations.

Andy Thomas, B&NES Council said: “Local partners in Bath & North East Somerset have recently completed the 7th year of our joint employer-led volunteering scheme, designed to benefit our local communities. Activities ranged from painting play areas to cooking for a local charity. Anything that helps bring together local projects with local volunteers is very much welcomed. That’s why “InVOLve”- as our employee volunteering initiative is now called- has its own page on the neighbourly website. Involve will be working closely with neighbourly as the site develops and looks forward to helping new local projects as a result”

Carmel McQuaid, Head of Responsible Business, Marks and Spencer added: “neighbourly.com is a perfect way for us to elevate our level of community involvement. It provides us with an easier and clearer way of understanding what a project is doing at a local level – and offering it some practical assistance. It gives us a chance of saying ‘yes’ more often.”

neighbourly.com is free for use by community projects whilst companies pay an annual subscription to access the site’s search tools, dashboard and analytics packages. A percentage of profits from company subscriptions will go back into the neighbourly foundation when it is launched later this year.

The site is designed to be shared so that local individuals who support the project can follow its progress.

ENDS

For further information, press only, please contact: jane.halstead@neighbourly.com

Notes to editors:

neighbourly.com is a small independent company created by Nick Davies and launched to Founder Companies in February 2014. Nick’s previous work had become increasingly focused on how companies could help local communities, but highlighted that a piece of the jigsaw was missing. Realising that companies would undoubtedly do more if it were easier to reach out to their local communities, Nick set about creating neighbourly.

What is it? It’s a social network designed to help promote the work that communities do and connect them with companies that can contribute funding or volunteers. It’s specifically set up to help community and charity projects and socially responsible companies connect with each other in a way that’s free for projects.

What does it cost? neighbourly.com is free to use and there is no charge to set up projects. All the money pledged by companies goes to the project. Companies are charged an annual subscription to cover the services neighbourly provides in helping them find, choose and manage projects they wish to support.

What projects are accepted? Projects should be community, charity or social enterprise based in the UK and have a specific requirement that a business could help with.

What does ‘following’ a project mean? Following a project gives it support and well-wishes and will boost its rating on the site, as will adding further comments or posts. There is no need to donate time or money and projects can be un-followed at any time.

What is the noise metre? The noise metre is a tool showing how many followers a project has and automatically converts the project activity into a ‘score’ to help companies quickly find the most active ones.

What does it mean when companies ‘follow’ projects? Companies can view your project page without you knowing but if they like what they see they can choose to ‘follow’. This simply alerts you and other companies that there is potential interest. While a project can only be backed by one company, a very large project can be split into separate projects that can be backed separately.

Do users have to accept an offer of backing? No, they can decline if they decide their interests don’t match.
Jul 25, 2014
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