Think dating app meets charitable donations, where you can quickly see various charitable organizations, information about each one at the tap of a finger, and make a donation with a simple swipe of your finger. Rachel Klausner, founder and CEO of the new charity app Millie, has created exactly that, with an aim to enable people to donate on a peer-to-peer basis, in a more intimate connected fashion. Rachel recently sat down to give us insight on what inspired her to create a new approach on donating to our favorite causes.
First, what inspired you to create Millie? Is there a story behind the name?
While I spent time volunteering and working at nonprofits, I realized my own personal giving habits did not reflect the way I felt about the causes I cared about. When I counted my donations for the year to see how much more I allotted to give (thanks to the Jewish tradition of tithing!), I realized I had already donated a majority of my money away to causes that I didn’t choose nor care about. I gave when friends or family would run in a race or ask online, but I never asked myself what I cared about. I wanted to discover amazing nonprofits and easily do all my giving.
The name Millie actually comes from our target market – millennials!
What did you find lacking in the current state of the charity world, where Millie could provide a solution?
What I felt was missing was a big gap in the market to service and help donors. There’s all this fundraising tech to help nonprofits fundraise but very little for the donor to manage all of their giving and search and discover nonprofits to donate towards. High net worth donors are being serviced with traditional donor-advised funds but no one was bringing that same structure– basically a giving wallet– to us, the everyday donors to simplify our giving. And on the discovery side, I find there is no good destination to search, filter, sort, get recommendations of nonprofits across the country. We’re excited to combine these two things — the giving wallet and discovery platform to build a home for giving.
Can you give us a quick rundown on how Millie works? Are contributions made individually for a set amount, and how does a user pay for each donation?
The way Millie works is you upload money into your giving wallet and get a tax-deductible receipt on that. We then help you discover amazing nonprofits by matching you with 3 high-impact ones each week based on your location and behavior. You can then swipe (or click on web!) to donate! You can set up recurring donates, one time donations, or gift money to friends and family to donate!
How many nonprofits have joined the Millie service so far? How does the application process work?
We have 120 nonprofits that we partnered with for our beta, and with our big launch, we actually have 1.6 million nonprofits in the U.S. that have profiles. Nonprofits can then claim the profiles and add more content like you would a google places page. We’ll be adding nonprofit badges next month that help donors differentiate between organizations for stand out qualities.
What is your vision going forward for Millie? How do you hope Millie will enable others to become more involved in the world of charitable donations?
We’re super excited to be building a home for giving. By democratizing donor-advised funds, Millie’s giving wallets will bring a level playing field in philanthropy. It allows everyday donors to be strategic and thoughtful about their giving in a way we never had access to because the tools weren’t built for our wallet size. Our goal is to build a place where people get excited about giving back because it’s easy and impactful and a whole bunch of fun.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our sit down with Rachel Klausner, and that you check out her new app Millie to see just how easy it can be to donate to great causes, with a single swipe of your finger.