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 "grass roots actions". 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 those who need protection, within human society or within the wider natural world. 

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 have given our own money, not lending the company, just giving. We chucked in a heap of our own cash to get the ball rolling. With this start-up fund, we were able to get our website going, get our membership stickers printed, organise advertising and most importantly, had a fair chunk of cash to be donated to our first beneficiary, which was the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital. 

How do UYOC choose who to support?

We only give to charities, NGOs or organisations that have been verified through research. 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. Our member cafes are encouraged to let us know which charities they would like UYOC to support. We will give in direct response to need, and where the funds we have available can be most effective. 

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

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 -  sharing, encouraging, supporting and gifting sustainable lifestyle choices.

We have competitions on our social media 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. They are a fine way to gain attention for our members while promoting positive change. 

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 into 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?