Why we started UYOC

The Civic Theatre in Auckland, February 2017, David Attenborough was on stage, chatting away, for nearly 3 hours. He was marvellous. Inspirational. During question time someone asked him, what can we do in the face of all this grimness and strife facing the natural world to make a change for the good?

David Attenborough said "support charities". He really did say that. So we sat up all night to think of what to do and UYOC is what we came up with. A business model that doesn't produce another product in this already overcrowded consumer world, that can provide a useful service, make enough money to be able to cover its own costs and to then give the rest away to folks who will employ it for the benefit of us all.

We think that today, more than ever, this counts - to be seen to be standing up for responsible use of our global resources and for the kind treatment of each other. We think that what the world needs now (as well as love, sweet love) are compassionate ideas, integrity, generosity and camaraderie, especially in the business world - different ways to channel the all good intentions out there that are often only lacking a vehicle for action.

This is what UYOC is about - finding a financially sustainable, symbiotic way to give to organisations who fight to protect the natural world. The act of giving reflects favourably on those who give - this isn’t (just) feel-good spiritual chatter - we believe it is sound business practice in a social climate where good deeds give good people hope and affect their consumer choices.

Why isn't UYOC a charity?

By operating as a viable business that will have employees and profit margins we can hope to encourage others to find more and more ways to access funding for truly vital causes. If they can do so without having to create, manufacture or physically produce a physical product, all the better. 

Every business needs a start up fund and we are giving our own money, not lending the company, just giving. We are chucking in a heap of our own cash to get the ball rolling. With this start up fund, we can afford to get our website going, get our membership stickers printed, organise advertising and most importantly we have a fair amount towards our first chunk of cash to be donated at the end of our first year.

All UYOC accounts and transactions will be detailed on our website-transparent, clear and accessible to everyone. We will show our subscriptions, our overheads, our timesheets and our take home pay (if any). From these figures, you'll be able to look straight into how UYOC is working. You'll be almost able to see us at the kitchen table, glued to the laptop, once the kids have gone to bed, working hard for our member cafes and the causes they want us to fight for. We are real people trying, with all our might, to make a good idea happen.

How do UYOC choose who to support?

We only give to charities, NGOs or organisations that have been verified through research. Each year we choose 8 NZ registered charities. They will be listed on our website for you to have a look at. Some operate at a local level, some NZ national and some international. All are good guys.

Our member cafes are encouraged to let us know which charities they would like UYOC to support. We will make our future choices from our members' suggestions.

How and why we promote and market UYOC the way we do...

(Offer goodness that inspires and can be shared.)

When you begin a new business you try to be aware of all the choices you make, and why. Our decisions about how to promote UYOC and its member cafes took a while. We have chosen to always ensure all our marketing involves community (online, radio or cafe) and promoting, sharing, encouraging, supporting and gifting sustainable lifestyle choices and enriching experiences. 

We have competitions because they are fun and allow us to support sustainable products that are making it easier for us all to adopt more responsible lifestyles regarding reducing single-use waste. 

If you have ideas for future competitions or know of events you'd like to see as prizes - please tell us about them.

Why do UYOC not take credit card payments for subscriptions?

We believe it is a more civilized and more trusting way to do business. All businesses use internet banking for something, and by offering this as our chosen payment option for subscriptions, we are able to provide our cafes with invoices that keep their accounting systems simple – that follow the regular path for transactions.

There are other reasons that we have chosen not to take credit card payments. We do not believe it is appropriate and in keeping with the ethics of UYOC to pay funds to a mostly dormant third party that could otherwise be used to promote and market our cafes. Our cafes are our priority. We do not believe it is appropriate and in keeping with the ethics of UYOC to be party to the holding of anyone's credit card data and the using of that to create profiles about spending by a third party - when there are other payment options. We do not hold with the practice of ‘hooking’ subscribers to a service with an ‘opt-out’ system where registered credit cards are charged unless merchant services are notified to the contrary.

In order to use credit card payment online, the list of privacy policies and data protection policies, caveats and cover-us policies would be as long as our arms, a couple of arms. We thought, this can't be right. It doesn't feel the UYOC way - open, simple, upright and out there. 

We hope cafes will not be deterred by the request to pay via an invoice through internet banking rather than the one click of credit card payments.  We know we are taking a chance – many have advised us that it is easier to keep customers on our site if we take your card details and ‘hook’ businesses in to a rolling over subscription. However, we're going out on a limb to assume that the businesses who chose to be a part of the UYOC community do so with thought and specific intent.  It would be super sweet if we were right. 

We completely believe that this concept can add to the existing mood of change to create real, practical and radical change - on the street, in legislation and in minds. Please, join us?