More than a token: Z’s flagship feel-good initiative returns

Community September 22, 2022

Z gift vote

Good in the Hood, one of the best-loved local community fundraisers, is bringing back the positive energy of giving in 2022. 

For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic reached our shores, Z Energy’s (Z) flagship feel-good initiative has returned to its hyper-local format with Z retailers able to celebrate local charities and community groups by throwing their support behind Good in the Hood.

It’s been running for almost a decade, and in that time Good in the Hood has delivered almost $8 million to organisations doing remarkable things across the country.

Z customers are given an orange token when they shop in store, which they can pop in one of four boxes representing the charities and community groups vying for support. Every Z station in the country participates and promotes charities or community groups relevant to their own area, and this year a total of $1 million is up for grabs. At the end of the voting phase, the money is shared between the participating groups based on how many tokens they received.

Bellyful is a growing charity which delivers nourishing free meals to families with babies and young children who need support. The Hutt Valley branch’s coordinator Annika Norling says the money they have received from Good in the Hood in the past quite literally put food on tables.

“The main thing we spend the money on is the ingredients,” she says. “We cook once a month, and each time we do approximately 170-odd meals. To do that, all of our ingredients cost about $500. So if we receive, say, $2000, that’s actually four months of providing meals to families in need.”

Good in the Hood supports charities like Bellyful with more than a top up of cash, Annika says the visibility they gain when Bellyful is a finalist makes a huge difference to them, and that’s why they’ll keep applying every year.

“What I really love about Good in the Hood is the way it gets our name out there. The more people know about us, the more they can tell their friends, and when the moment is right for someone, our name will be there.”

You might not think of your local Z station as a hub of connectivity, but most people need petrol, coffee and supplies – and that means all those people will be exposed to a charity’s name and their aims during the Good in the Hood voting phase.

“When we reach out to the community, we’re often reaching out to really specific parts like NICU or hospitals or midwives or Plunket, but at the petrol station you’ve got all walks of life coming through there, so you’re reaching more people than you ever would on your own.”

That engagement directly results in referrals for families who need help, and sometimes donations too, which is a much appreciated flow-on effect of the Good in the Hood campaign, Annika says.

Z retailers Rachael and Hamish Waddington are passionate about helping their community. They operate 10 service stations from Gisborne to Masterton, and they look forward to Good in the Hood every year.

“It’s a lot of fun!” Rachael says. “The money goes back into your local community, and it’s a great way for the public to hear about the good stuff these charities do.”

Hamish agrees, saying, “It’s been a tough couple of years for charities and it’s a really cool way to be able to give back to the communities we operate in.”

Two years of varying Covid-19 restrictions mean some charities haven’t been able to help as much as they’d like to. This year, Good in the Hood wants to pour its energy into the smaller organisations who have struggled to fundraise during the pandemic.

As the cost of living rises, community groups are battling to carry on the vital work they do, and financial hardship has seen many more grassroot organisations spring up across the country. The Waddington’s say interest in registering has been unparalleled this year.

“Our Masterton site had 32 charities to choose from, but unfortunately we had to narrow that down to four charities for voting in October.”

Good in the Hood also fosters life-long relationships which are integral to the health of the charities. The Waddington’s encourage their charities to spend time in-store talking to customers about who they are and what they’re trying to achieve, to get their message out there.

“We form some really good relationships with the charities,” Rachael says. “You get to know the local coordinators of the charities many of them volunteers, and it’s really neat to see what they plan to do with the money they receive from the public voting in October.”

Good in the Hood is engaged across the entire Z network and is an integral part of the community focus that makes up the company’s values. Abbie Bull, Z’s Head of Sustainability and Community, says it’s a special initiative.

“We know there are many charities out there, particularly small ones, that struggle to attract funding from large corporations, especially if they’re in small towns or rural areas. Good in the Hood is unique in its nature – it’s this broad-reaching, nationwide campaign, it’s a really easy application process, and it lets locals decide what they most need in their communities.”

Z retail staff even get to choose the charities each year, something the Waddington’s say is done with immense care.

“Our staff are really involved with it. They’re really into it, and it’s really quite a cool thing for all our sites.”

Good in the Hood is only possible with the support of the wonderful Z customers, so head to your local Z station and make your vote count this year. Every token placed in a box is cash in the hand to important local organisations providing services where they’re needed most.

Voting opens on 26 September.

Visit Good in the Hood for more information.