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Uber drives spring donations for Goodwill via mobile campaign

Ridesharing mobile application Uber drove Goodwill donations on May 2 by offering consumers a chance to download the app and request a free pick-up and delivery of their goods to a local Goodwill store.

Individuals interested in donating had their reusable products delivered to a Goodwill bricks-and-mortar location by an Uber driver, free of charge, suggesting that even mobile app companies should engage in corporate social responsibility more often. The partnership occurred in more than 50 cities across the nation, after previous successful promotions took place in San Francisco, Boston and New York.

“This is the first time Goodwill and Uber have partnered on a full-scale nationwide campaign to combine the power of donating with the convenience of ordering a ride via a mobile device across the nation,” said a spokeswoman for Uber, San Francisco.

Driving good deeds
Uber and Goodwill recognized that many consumers are currently or about to engage in spring cleaning activities, making the first weekend in May an optimal time to run the campaign.

The brands asked these interested consumers to spend the month of April gathering up jackets, blouses, shirts and other various clothing pieces to place in bags. Then, this past Saturday, donors were able to download or open the Uber app on their smartphones to choose the “GIVE” option on the screen.

As they would with ordering a regular ride, users could input their address and wait until an Uber vehicle showed up to pick up the bags, which were then dropped off at a designated Goodwill store.

For those who have missed the window to donate via Uber or have already delegated their spring cleaning items elsewhere, monetary donations are accepted at

“Goodwill believes in the power of work to change lives and each bag of clothes donated provides one hour of a financial planning or job search class,” Uber’s spokeswoman said. “With Uber Spring Cleaning taking place in more than 50 cities across the U.S. we hope to make a meaningful impact in the community.”

Corporate social responsibility
Goodwill is planning to use the revenue made from the clothing donations for funding job placement and training programs in local communities.

Walmart is also joining in on the corporate social responsibility action by asking consumers to join its Fight Hunger. Spark Change campaign by uploading a photo with six friends onto social networks to prompt the retailer to donate $10 per post to Feeding America, proving that social media is an optimal communication vehicle for cross-partnerships with nonprofits (see story).

Meanwhile, mobile is an ideal communication vehicle for Uber and Goodwill’s spring cleaning campaign, as many consumers across the United States already have the Uber app downloaded on their phones.

The brands hope that consumers who partook in the campaign were able to feel accomplished by marking something off their to-do lists while also helping Goodwill strengthen communities.

“We continue to look for new ways to support our communities with our technology and reach to make it easier for people to give back,” Uber’s spokeswoman said. “In our experience making donating fast, easy and free – resonates well with users.

“They like being able being able to check something off their list, and know they are giving back to their local community at the same time.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York