Reward Your World acquires Cambridge Open Systems

Reward Your World – a locally-focused incentive platform that connects members to volunteering groups, charities, local businesses and independent retail organisations – has announced the acquisition of Cambridge Open Systems, which provides open-source web resources to local authorities and voluntary groups around the UK. This follows the 2011 acquisition of the assets of the Smartly Green reward programme by Reward Your World. Following the integration of Cambridge Open Systems, RYW’s platform will enjoy over a million unique visitors per year and 25,000 registered members.

Reward Your World works by allowing members to accumulate ‘BetterPoints’ by either volunteering on sponsored projects or using designated local businesses – such as retailers and public transport providers – as well as shopping with certain major online brands. Those points can then be redeemed as goods or services or donated as cash to charities and community groups. Charity and community groups can, without cost, create their own RYW presences to campaign for donations, members and resources. The open-source platform acquired from Cambridge Open Systems offers free self-build online portal resources to over 2500 such groups, paid for via subscription arrangements with Local Authorities around the UK.

“The combination of Reward Your World’s innovative cross-sector platform with the broad foot-print and established presence of Cambridge Open Systems will greatly accelerate RYW’s go-to-market reach in 2013,” says Daniel Gipple, co-founder and CEO of Reward Your World. “Volunteering provides an emotional engagement for consumers and local residents that is far beyond anything offered by typical store rewards. The programme turns that personal activity into additional resources and benefits for all participants. This encourages the whole range of stakeholders across public, private and voluntary sectors to participate in or lead programmes – including via co-branding and especially in their local areas.”

The Reward Your World model responds to fundamental drivers affecting each stakeholder group. Businesses are struggling to retain customers and also seeking better integration with their communities. Charities are faced with a 45% reduction in their funding over the next four years, leading to pressure on financial and human resources. Local voluntary groups – such as faith groups and clubs – are also being asked to deliver more in the face of declining resources. Linking many of these elements are Local Authorities, which are well positioned among local stakeholders to sponsor regional Reward Your World programmes. A pilot scheme with Reading Borough Council is due to be launched in 2013, including outreach via users of local transport and integration with local volunteer networks.

“We are delighted that such a close business fit has been found with Reward Your World,” says Rob Denison, co-founder of Cambridge Open Systems. “It is more important than ever that community organisations and willing volunteers find each other, and a level cross-sector playing field is established to enable corporate engagement, communication and sustainable community development. Our combined offering will allow that to take place within a self-sustaining system where all participants are positively incentivised to be actively involved.”

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