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Christina Bellis and Lani Evans are turning an IRD subsidy into a force for good

Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand, with the interview available as both audio and a transcribed excerpt.

Here’s a cool idea. How about taking a service every company needs, then doing it for free for them while also managing, as part of the deal, to get funds to charity. It sounds like you’ve just managed to clock life. Well, today’s company has done just this with Thankyou Payroll.

It’s a clever service, where they’ve turned an IRD subsidy into a force for good. Christina Bellis and Lani Evans of Thankyou payroll Simon to discuss the business, a crowdfunding venture they have on, and how they make it happen.

Note: Apologies for the sound quality. This episode was conducted over the phone.

Either download (right click to save), have a listen below, subscribe through iTunes (RSS feed) or read on for a transcribed excerpt.

Tell me about how you actually give back from that $2 per employee [subsidy]. You’re able to carve off an amount that goes to do good. What’s the good?

Lani Evans: We give approximately 25 cents per person per page to the Thankyou Charitable Trust. The Thankyou Charitable Trust is a small, grassroots community grant-maker. We give grants up to $3000 to community organisations and groups. At the moment, in 3 cities; Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington. It operates on a pay-it-forward funding model. So that means if you apply for a grant with us now and receive it. In three months time, we’ll come together with all of the other grant recipients and we’ll have a pot luck dinner party as your accountability process. The accountability process, for lots of organisations, are written reports that essentially get read once and then put into a file that can take a lot of time for community groups to put together. This pot-luck dinner party process means that people come along, it’s a really welcoming environment, and people can share stories of what they’re doing. We think that really helps to build relationships within the community, leadership within the community.

It sounds really lovely. So what sort of things do you guys look to support and how do people get involved to actually seek a grant?

Lani Evans: Basically anything that is working within that community to build resilience or sustainability or community well being. A lot of the time that ends up being things like school groups…

Christina Bellis: Trapping for vermin, community gardens…

Lani Evans: All sorts of different things that are really community-based.