Doing Well & Good in The On-Demand Economy

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Doing Well & Good in The On-Demand Economy

On-demand services are helping to improve lives in more ways than one. They help us get to our favorite spots (Uber), discover new events and experiences (Eventbrite), and get our homes in order (Handy). Now these companies are giving back to the broader community. From raising food bank donations to collecting toys for underprivileged kids, on-demand businesses are helping to provide the basic comforts that many of us take for granted everyday.

We find it encouraging that The On-Demand Economy is already demonstrating an eagerness to give back and have high expectations that its constituents will hold true to these principles as they grow and scale. Here are a few examples that haven’t gone unnoticed:

UberRUSH spreads warmth with coat drive

Uber’s new courier service,UberRUSH, is giving back this holiday season by picking up coats without charge for the annual New York Cares coat drive. UberRUSH made its debut in NYC last Spring, and it is now helping give a winter coat to 100,000 New Yorkers in need. From November 17 through December 31, use the promo code NYCARESRUSH to call an UberRUSH bike messenger to pick up coats for donation in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Get a Bottle Give a Can with Drizly

This past November, Drizly filled stomachs and warmed hearts with its No Hungry Kid donations and Get a Bottle Give a Can food drive. Drizly gave 30% of its November profits to No Child Hungry, an organization dedicated to providing every child in need with a healthy meal. In addition, customers had the ability to donate non-perishable food to their delivery person. Drizly then collected these items and redistributed them to local food banks in the seven participating cities.

Instadonate with Instacart

Instacart, a grocery delivery service, is known for well trained shoppers picking that perfect tomato for you. Their delivery expertise was put to use in another capacity in partnership with the Washington DC Goodwill, wherein customers can request a donation bag for the Instadonate item drive. Once the bag is full of gently used clothes, a “shopper” will pick it up during their delivery and drop it off at Goodwill. This project was extended after a successful summer campaign.

Handy does great work even outside of the home

Handy, the on-demand home maintenance service, went back to its roots this past November when the Boston team volunteered for a morning at the local homeless shelter St. Francis House. Handy encourages its freelancers and employees to be active in their communities. Handy volunteers prepped and cooked food which was then served to over 800 people in need throughout the day.   

Makespace in your closet for Goodwill

Makespace, an on-demand storage company in New York, is giving people the chance to help their community while cleaning out their closets. Makespace now includes a Goodwill donation bag in its storage containers. Undamaged clothes, household items, and working electronics that clutter your home can now go to a good cause. 

Washio spreading the Love

On-demand laundry service Washio partnered with the clothing charity Laundry Love to distribute over 600 pounds of laundry to the homeless in Los Angeles and San Francisco in February 2014. Washio collected and donated jackets, suits, and other clothes in tandem with Laundry Love’s program to give struggling individuals access to free laundry facilities.

Giving the community a Lyft

Lyft for Good is a national program aimed at using the on-demand car service Lyft to help communities. This December, Lyft drivers in Silicon Valley are playing Santa Claus by delivering toys to lower income kids. Since Lyft for Good’s debut in April 2014, Lyft drivers have also participated in projects like a Denver bag lunch program for the homeless and providing elderly transportation to doctor’s appointments in San Francisco.

Seamless brings clean water to Ethiopian community

Seamless teamed up with Charity Water, an organization that brings clean water to developing communities around the world. In June 2013, the meal delivery service raised over $20,000 to fund a clean water project in Ethiopia. They have already struck ground with this project thanks to Seamless’ help.

Homejoy promotes the joy of learning

Homejoy Foundation was created by the founders of Homejoy as a way to give back to the community. Since it’s creation, the Homejoy Foundation has provided aid to homeless veterans and educational opportunities to underprivileged communities. The Foundation is currently supporting STEM programs for at risk elementary, middle, and high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Postmates making customers and communities happy with each order

In the spirit of the holidays, Postmates helped food banks across the country provide groceries for families in need. The delivery company teamed up with local food banks in the 17 cities they service during their fundraiser, Dollars for Deliveries. For every order placed during Thanksgiving weekend, $1 was donated to charities like the SF Marin Food Bank in San Francisco, Bowery Mission in NYC, and the Greater Food Depository in Chicago.

Airbnb matching contributions to Central City Concerns

Airbnb is shaking up Portland with its shared city program where they are matching donations from hosts to Central City Concerns. Airbnb has enabled hosts to donate a portion of their rental fee to help fight homelessness through housing and work placement programs. The company is committed to keeping up this program until the end of 2015!

The On-Demand Economy, as an organization, is dedicated to helping its members continue to find new ways to improve the communities they serve. How does your on-demand service give back? Let us know at

Tanner Hackett is the co-founder of Button and The On-Demand Economy. He was previously co-founder and managing director at one of Rocket Internet’s largest ventures, Lazada, where he helped to build the company into the largest e-commerce business in Southeast Asia.

Special thanks to Stephen Milbank and The On-Demand Economy members for contributing to this piece.

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