Lyft Just Gave Users An Easy Way To Help Charity During Their Next Ride
Since Trump has taken office, many Americans have been looking for ways to undo some of his damage by helping causes they care about. And now, there's a painfully easy way to do that: Lyft's Round Up & Donate program is letting users round their fares up to the nearest dollar, and the extra money they pay will go toward charity. If you've been meaning to donate to a worthy cause but haven't gotten around to doing the research or don't have a ton of money to spare, now is your opportunity to make a difference with very little effort.
This option isn't available nation-wide yet, but the ride-sharing app is beginning to test it and plans to expand it to all its users within several weeks. If you're selected to participate, Lyft will ask you if you want to opt in or not, and then you'll be able to select a charity at the end of your ride. This is totally separate from and won't interfere with the tipping function.
It's not clear which organizations are part of the program yet, but an announcement on Lyft's blog that also appeared as a The New York Times ad claims the issues they'll address will range "from climate change to the pursuit of equality." Lyft is also considering letting users nominate charities to add to the list. The Austin, TX ride-sharing app Ride Austin has a similar round-up feature.
This isn't the first effort Lyft has undergone to do some good for the country. The company recently pledged to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the course of the next four years. The decision came as cab drivers were protesting Trump's travel ban by not showing up at airports, and Uber came under attack for offering rides at a lower price than usual to people who needed to get home.
Uber was already in hot water over its founder Travis Kalanick's position on Trump's economic advisory group, and many users began deleting the app after hearing of its response to the airport protests. The ACLU was representing detained travelers pushing for a block on the executive order, so Lyft's donation was a gesture in solidarity with refugees and others affected by the travel ban.
Of course, the new feature isn't purely altruistic; it's also a way for Lyft to continue forging ahead of Uber in the PR department. The company also believes it'll provide an incentive for more people to ride with Lyft, according to a blog post for drivers: "This program provides an opportunity for passengers to do good just by sliding in your back seat, and is projected to not only increase awareness, but ridership as well." Regardless of the motives, though, the outcome is still worthwhile.
Of course, you need not wait for the feature to become available to you before donating to a cause you care about. To make it easier, we've put together a list of environmental organizations, intersectional grassroots organizations, women's rights organizations, and organizations fighting Donald Trump's policies that could use your money right now.