After days of indulging our culinary and consumer appetites, the time has come for at least a day of giving back to those less fortunate. This Tuesday marks the third annual Giving Tuesday event — the kick-off to the holiday charity season. This year, Uber is among the first of what will likely be many companies making their mark on this occasion.
The on-demand private car service has partnered with the AIDS organization (RED) to allow donations from within the Uber app. On Tuesday, December 1, every rider in the U.S. can participate in this campaign by contributing $5 on top of their UberX fare — $0.25 of which will be used to pay for processing fees. What’s more, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match every donation made from within Uber’s app. These contributions will go toward providing a month’s worth of life-saving medicine to those living with HIV/AIDS.
While December 1 has been labeled Giving Tuesday, it’s perhaps better known as World AIDS Day, and both events are certainly in alignment.
Only riders in the U.S. are eligible to make donations to (RED) within Uber’s app, but, as a symbolic gesture, international Uber cars will be highlighted in red to drive awareness of the cause. If you’re inclined to make a donation but can’t do it within the Uber app, you can donate directly (minus the matching contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
With this campaign, Uber is helping raise awareness of efforts by (RED) to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of the HIV virus globally by 2020. Although this is commendable, some may criticize the company for its $0.25 processing fee. This isn’t the first time that Uber has come under such fire: during its Veterans’ Day campaign, the company collected donations to help homeless veterans, but passed on the processing fee to donors, as it will do here.
A company spokesperson provided this statement to VentureBeat: “We understand that processing fees are a hot button issue. We thought long and hard about the best way to handle fees, as we intend to do many more giving campaigns in the future where we will invite our riders to join in. We appreciate the generosity of our riders, and we’ll continue to be transparent about any fee.”
On Tuesday, contributions can be added to every UberX fare in “select U.S. cities.” Although not all of the markets in which Uber operates are eligible, most of its 180 cities will participate in this program. At the end of your trip, you’ll receive an SMS message asking if you wish to donate $5 to the Global Fund, the recipient of the (RED) foundation’s money to help stop AIDS, as well as tuberculosis, and malaria.