Join us on September 19th for a short webinar on how your community league can integrate this unique app into your communication strategy for no cost.Continue reading
Over 40 community leagues in Edmonton are making use of CommuniBee, an app designed in Edmonton to facilitate community engagement and communication.Continue reading
We’re very excited to share with you a brand new feature of CommuniBee that will allow you to embed news & events posted to your community app into your website.Continue reading
We understand that you may be cautious about signing up for a service like CommuniBee. Ensuring your online security and privacy are more important than ever. That’s why we’ve made the following security blog post available for viewing. You can also download it here as a document.
CommuniBee Security And Privacy
This post outlines the security and privacy considerations in the CommuniBee app.
- API and database server are running Ubuntu 18.04, a Long Term Support version supported out until 2023.
- Server runs UFW firewall locked down with IP whitelisting as needed for developers to access.
- All communications are done over HTTPS with RSA 2048-bit encrypted SSL.
- Database can only be accessed by API, blocked by firewall rules from anything but API.
- Database is running the latest version of Microsoft SQL Server, and API is running the latest .NET
Core runtime for Linux.
- All database access uses Entity Framework to mitigate SQL injection attacks.
- All passwords used for accessing the server are strong, randomly generated strings.
- Database is backed up daily.
- User passwords are properly hashed so they cannot be extracted and reverse engineered.
Communities within CommuniBee can be flagged as discoverable or not. If discoverable, like Edmonton Community Leagues are, users are presented a drop down of available communities to join. If not discoverable, guests need to either be given an invite code that they enter to join a community, or they can be invited directly by an admin through the dashboard.
Additionally, the ability to join can be configured in the app with three levels:
- No Approval Required – anyone with invite code can join and has immediate access.
- Approval Always Required – people join with an invite code and enter a pending state until approved by an admin.
- Email Domains Auto-Approved – admins can add approved email domains. When users register with such a domain they are automatically approved, otherwise they enter a pending state as in #2.
User access can be controlled by admins from the dashboard at any time, revoking or granting access to members of the community.
Access privileges are calculated on the app side for speed, but also on the API to prevent circumvention. We use signed JWT tokens for authentication with anti-forgery checks.
For payment processing we use Stripe, which is an industry standard for online credit card processing. It is used by many recognized names like SalesForce, Expedia, OpenTable, Spotify, etc.
When a payment is made in CommuniBee, a dialog is presented to collect payment information (credit card #, expiry date, CVV), and that information is passed directly to Stripe along with the email address of the account. It is important to note that the credit card information is never passed to or stored on our servers.
When Stripe approves the payment, a token and client ID is returned and then passed to our server. Our server then contacts Stripe with that token to validate the payment, and this finalizes the transaction. If auto-renew is toggled on, the CommuniBee system can use the client ID to process a renewal payment without requiring the card information again.
We use Digital Ocean for hosting the server and database. Digital Ocean is one of the leading providers of hosting services. The servers we use are hosted on Canadian soil in Toronto.
For details on Digital Ocean’s data security practices, visit: https://www.digitalocean.com/legal/data-security/
An excerpt from that page:
Security controls provided by our datacenter facilities includes but is not limited to:
- 24/7 Physical security guard services
- Physical entry restrictions to the property and the facility
- Physical entry restrictions to our co-located datacenter within the facility
- Full CCTV coverage externally and internally for the facility
- Biometric readers with two-factor authentication
- Facilities are unmarked as to not draw attention from the outside
- Battery and generator backup
- Generator fuel carrier redundancy
- Secure loading zones for delivery of equipment
If you have any questions regarding your security and privacy, don’t hesitate to contact us!
- The CommuniBee Team
What is CommuniBee?
CommuniBee brings your community into the digital age. With easy to use mobile and web based solutions.
Create some Buzz in your community. CommuniBee was designed to bring Communities and Groups into the digital age. The application was developed to assist and increase engagement within groups. Some of the key features that CommuniBee offers include:
- Fixed price, software as a service, fast set up and easy to manage.
- Event management built in, easier than 3rd party, no cut on event tickets, more money in their pockets.
- Simplified membership purchase and renewal and increasing membership.
- Save time with central management of events and memberships, reduce volunteer fatigue.
- Real time news and notifications, save on newsletter printing costs and delivery.
- Sponsorship opportunities to promote local business and help offset cost.
By providing things such as real-time news and notifications, you can increase the connection and participation in your community. With approximately 89% of 29-49 year olds, and 73% of 50-64 having smart phones and nearly 90% of both having access to a computer with internet, reaching your members has never been easier.
The 6 C's of Community Engagement (Part 1)
Discover how CommuniBee can help you build upon these core aspects of community engagement
We all know that community engagement is a foundational requirement for a healthy, thriving, successful society— but how do we know when our efforts are working?
It’s a question many community leaders, municipal governments, and other organizations ask themselves frequently.
There are an endless number of ways to engage your community, but if you aren’t touching on the essential elements that contribute to a strong sense of belonging, your strategy will likely lose its luster over time.
Thankfully, by focusing on the six C’s of community engagement, local leaders can better gauge whether or not they are generating results, and identify gaps in their engagement strategy more quickly.
All of the six C’s are critical, and the strongest communities are those who put a plan into action, ensuring each category is being tended to.
In today’s blog post, we’ll be covering the first three C’s, with the remaining three to come in our next post!
So, let’s take a deeper look at these criteria, while simultaneously learning more about how a mobile community app like CommuniBee can help you achieve the outcome you’re looking for.
Here are the First Three C's of Community Engagement:
In order to build a strong community, your members must be capable of engaging in constructive, open, healthy dialogue. Otherwise, it becomes impossible to resolve issues or move forward with a shared vision.
How CommuniBee Can Help:
A mobile community app can make communicating with your fellow residents much more convenient. It eliminates the need to wait until a town meeting or physical interaction in order for thoughts and opinions to be expressed.
The CommuniBee app allows users to log in at any time, from anywhere they have cell service, and receive updates regarding the happenings in their community. And with the help of push notifications, members of the community are alerted of all the latest information even if they aren’t logged into their app— reducing the likelihood of miscommunication or knowledge gaps.
In regards to community engagement, a commitment is formed when community members come together to support one another beyond their self interests. Commitment creates a bond between citizens, motivating them to create a better environment for all.
How CommuniBee Can Help:
Before you can encourage your community members to commit to building a stronger network, they must first be aware of the importance of community involvement, and feel inspired to take part.
Using a mobile community app like CommuniBee is a great way to keep your members informed about upcoming community events, and to communicate how much you would value their participation.
The more welcomed and informed your community members are, the more compelled they will feel and the more invested they will be in their community’s success.
Contribution refers to the willingness of your citizens to volunteer and give back to their community.
How CommuniBee Can Help:
At CommuniBee, we believe that keeping your community members in-the-loop about opportunities to contribute is the first step to securing more involvement.
That’s why we make it easier for community leaders to manage their events and activities with features like a built-in RSVP system, and convenient dashboard that allows you to manage attendance.
Additionally, the real-time news section of the app makes it a breeze to post volunteer opportunities or event updates, giving your members the details they need, when they need them.
We also send automatic reminders to anyone who has RSVP’d to an event or activity, which can be delivered via push notifications.
Stop waiting for your community members to check out your physical bulletin board, or dealing with the frustration of emails or mail-outs that go unread.
A mobile community app is a cost-friendly solution that ensures your messages are received quickly, in a way that works for today’s tech-savvy society.
We’ll be covering the remaining three C’s of community engagement in our next post!
The Importance of Building Successful Communities
We discuss why connecting with the people around us will become increasingly crucial in years to come
Since the beginning of the information age, human beings have become more and more dependent on the internet, and as a result, the ways we interact with one another have shifted.
Statistics like these show just how much people are turning to their devices to connect with the people around them. Unfortunately, these numbers also demonstrate how real, face-to-face interactions are becoming less frequent.
To emphasize this point, it’s worthwhile to consider the fact that 60 percent of people admit to feeling disconnected from others when they are on their phone, and 88 percent of people have felt disconnected at dinner because of people they are eating with using their phone.
Numbers like these can be surprising, especially since the Internet should (in theory) be bringing people together and making them feel closer to other whom they would not be able to communicate with if not for the world wide web.
Additional surprising facts about the current state of connectedness in our world include:
The number who say they have no one outside of their immediate family to discuss important matters with has more than doubled, reaching a shocking 53.4 percent — up 17 percent since the dawn of the Internet and social media.
So, how exactly does community building address these concerns? And what are some proven methods for establishing stronger ties with the people around us?
These are the hard-hitting questions we’ll be addressing in today’s blog.
Here Are 3 Benefits of Belonging to a Community:
1. Improved Overall Health
Part of why strong communities are important directly relates to how they make us feel, not just emotionally but physically as well.
In fact, a strong sense of belonging has been proven to:
Lower the prevalence of mental health issues
Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
Lower the rates of unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, not exercising, and drinking too much alcohol
Additionally, another study has shown that people with adequate social relationships have a 50 percent greater survival rate compared with individuals with poor social relationships.
Thus, the quality and longevity of our lives truly do depend on the depth and strength of our human connections.
2. More Opportunities For Personal Growth
One of the best aspects of building communities where members support one another and are bonded by a set of common goals is how each individual can benefit.
When people look out for each other’s best interests, individuals feel more capable and motivated to chase their personal ambitions.
One great example of this is communities that make free public libraries available to their citizens. It has been shown that among young adults (14–24 years of age) in households below the federal poverty line, 61 percent used public library computers and Internet for educational purposes, while 54 percent of seniors living in poverty do the same.
Thus, it’s no wonder that almost two-thirds of adult Americans say that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community.
The more communities come together to offer programs, services, and support, the more likely it is that their citizens will success professionally, educationally, and personally.
These programs, services, and supports come in a range of forms, from sports programs, to local food banks, to adequate health services.
3. Highlighted Inclusivity
Inclusivity is one of the most essential keys to building a successful community. When properly provided, inclusivity makes it possible for the basic needs of all individuals to be met – regardless of race, age, income, disability, or other differentiating factors.
This is critical when you consider the fact that 53 percent of kids with disabilities reporting feeling as though they have no friends, or that 42 percent of Muslims with children in K–12 schools report that their child has experienced bullying.
Thankfully, though, according to a report by Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, communities that are committed to promoting inclusion and equity and reducing racism and discrimination, experience an increased sense of cohesiveness and belonging. They also experience enhanced safety and security, and there is greater and more diverse involvement with the institutions and processes of community life.
These benefits are felt by all members equally, which results in a more engaged, happy, and driven community as a whole.
How CommuniBee Can Help
CommuniBee is a community based app that has been specifically designed and developed to make building communities easier and more convenient.
Our app makes it easier for people to experience the benefits of belonging to a community, connecting them with an expansive local business directory, a real-time community event calendar, community-based discussion forums, and more.
Some of the Benefits of CommuniBee Include:
Keeping people aware of upcoming local events
An easy to use, integrated event system
Increased awareness of local amenities
Convenient and effective promotion of community businesses
Built-in eCommerce system for purchasing memberships and tickets
The Advantage of Apps for Community Building
When you compare community based apps to other, traditional methods of community building, the benefits become more and more evident.
We encourage you to read our “3 Compelling Reasons to Swap Your Community Bulletin Board for a Mobile App” post to gain a more in-depth understanding of what an app can add to your community building strategy.
Introducing CommuniBee: The Comprehensive Community App
Discover how our mobile app can help you create stronger connections with the people in your community
Around the world, communities often struggle to keep their residents engaged in the activities, events, and conversations that are happening around them.
In fact, one third of Americans say they’ve never interacted with their neighbours. And only 36 percent of Americans say they have joined or participated in a community group/activity in the last year.
These numbers show that many of us are disconnected from the communities we live in, resulting in fragmented networks of people and less cohesive support systems.
These disconnected community members are often referred to as “weak ties”, since they have not yet solidified their relationships with the people they are closest to (geographically).
And believe it or not, a lot of research has been conducted into the concept of “weak ties” and how they impact our social environments. In fact, it has been proventhat when people have stronger ties with the people in their communities, they are more likely to turn to their neighbours in the event of an emergency, more likely to develop friendships with people in their neighbourhood, and more likely to come together to form community groups based on common values.
But what makes a strong community, exactly?
There are many features that contribute to a strong community, but some of the most crucial include:
Working together towards a common goal
Frequent positive interaction between community members
Constructive decision-making that promotes the happiness of all members
The support and promotion of community-based initiatives
The support and promotion of local businesses
At CommuniBee, our primary objective is to assist communities in achieving more of these criteria with the help of a convenient, accessible, and highly-engaging mobile app.
We believe that an effective and professionally-built community app is a powerful tool, giving community members the ability to interact with one another and remain in-tune with the events and activities that are happening around them.
What makes CommuniBee an ideal online community platform?
We incorporate features into our app that promote the health, well-being, and kinship of the people that make up your community.
Additionally, we accomplish these goals by using the latest technology and cutting-edge design to create a mobile app that is truly seamless and enjoyable to use.
Are you ready to learn more about what CommuniBee has to offer?
Here Are Three Challenges The CommuniBee App Can Help You Address:
1. Uninformed Residents
One of the greatest obstacles communities face with regards to strengthening the connection between their members is keeping everyone in-the-loop about new developments and occurrences that may affect them.
Thankfully, real-time communication is one of the many benefits of using a community app.
With CommuniBee, you can keep your residents engaged and informed with an active, real-time newsfeed that people can access at any time, from where ever they are.
And to make this process even more effective, you can send push notifications through the app, informing your residents of any updates, even when they aren’t logged into the mobile app.
Push notifications are extremely beneficial, since 52 percent of smartphone users enable them on their devices.
That means if you have 10,000 residents who are using your online community platform, 5,200 of them will likely allow your push notifications to appear on their phones, significantly increasing the amount of exposure your updates will receive.
This is even more compelling when you note that email marketing campaigns have an average open rate of 24.79 percent.
If keeping your residents updated and informed is a top priority, considering an app for community building could be the perfect strategy for you.
2. Event Management
Organizing and managing community events can be a handful. Especially when you consider that most community event organizers also work during the day, are raising children, or simply have other regular obligations to attend to.
This is why we decided to build a dynamic and easy-to-use event system directly into our community app. It allows community event organizers to create events, monitor registrations, and even accept membership payments, all from a convenient mobile app.
Community members who log into the app are then able to navigate to their community calendar and see all of the scheduled upcoming events and activities. They can even register and pay for event tickets with just a few taps of their screen!
And since studies have shown that event organizers who use a mobile registration software spend 90 percent less time on event registration than they did before, you can be sure that our community based app will save you valuable time and energy.
3. Promoting Local
In today’s world, one of the greatest challenges facing communities is encouraging residents to support their local businesses, amenities, and facilities.
Too often, community members overlook the local gems that are available to them just beyond their front door, opting instead for giant box stores and nationally-known brand names.
But when communities support their local resources, they can generate 3.5 times more wealth for their local economies – a benefit that most communities need to capitalize on in order to continue to grow and advance.
Thankfully, one of the benefits of using a community app is the ability to promote these local businesses and organizations. With the CommuniBee app, local businesses can promote special pricing, upcoming sales, discounts, and other relevant information to the communities they serve, increasing the likelihood that residents will avail of these offers.
This is highly advantageous, since the more informed and aware your residents are, the more engaged and supportive they will be of local businesses.
We are proud to be offering a solution to these common challenges that communities often face. If you feel a community app could be the solution you’ve been looking for, CONTACT US TODAY.