Method Profile: Millie Integrates Framing to Reap the Benefits of Context

Welcome to our next method profile! Our previous entry focused on using audience awareness in social enterprise. In operating any venture, everything flows from your approach, and identifying a proper method helps you effectively fulfill your team’s initiative.

Together, we’ll be profiling interesting social enterprises to discuss an anchor method in their strive for social good. The term “anchor method” is to express the intentional and grounded nature of the approaches propelling a social enterprise forward.

This post is an outside observation of a company for inspiration in social enterprise initiative improvements.

In today’s post, we’ll look into giving app Millie leveraging framing. The app provides an easy, personalized platform for charitable donations.

Framing effect focuses more on presenting information as positive/negative or gain / loss, but the core of the framing effect is “creating context”. For this reason, we are liberally using the term “framing” in this method profile.

Presenting a comparison with intentional context influences how information is processed. Influencing how we perceive context shifts our decision making.

Knowing the Company

Millie is a public benefit corporation based in Boston, Ma.

In the about page for Millie, CEO Rachel Klausner, connects to readers by joking about her status as a millennial. She calls attention to the millennial nature of caring about social impact despite struggling with student debt.

Rachel couldn’t find a great way to donate with intention. She mentioned she would donate to whatever came up (like a friend campaigning) and ‘guilty-gift-giving’. Rachel became inspired to connect with the causes she is choosing to support. She explains:

“I wanted to be thoughtful about where to allocate my charitable dollars. I wanted it to be simple, easy, and feel great.

I wanted a home for giving.”

–Rachel Klausner

Millie’s initiative points out how the wealthy have access to donor-advised funds, or “giving wallets”, with there being no equivalent for the everyday person. Typically, a person needs a minimum of $10,000 to establish a donor-advised fund, and Millie lets you open your own with “just $20”.

On the app, users can view charity descriptions and swipe to donate (like the Tinder type of swipe). Charity recommendations are based on your location, interests, and similar profile attributes.

Bringing an even more social side to the app, users can see the charity activity of other users, and can share funds with other users.

For every $1 given, Millie takes 5 cents to keep the company operating. However, the company displays belief in their users and mission by giving a choice to opt-out. Donors may contact Millie to give their full donation amount to charity, rather than Millie receiving 5%.

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Framing Selling Points

A company integrating framing is not too unusual, but not used regularly in the way Millie integrates framing.

Similar to the traditional method, Millie frames the selling points of the company. When Millie talks about starting your own fund, the company specifically places “just” in front of the $20 amount. Thus, creating the notion of low effort. While describing the tool created, Rachel says “easy, simple, and feel great.” She even compares the app to a “home”, a place mostly associated with comfort, security, and belonging.

These are positive feelings we all like to experience. If Millie can bring a little more of that into our life, why wouldn’t we join? That question is the subconscious thought most will have while forming an opinion about Millie.

Framing Operations

Millie framing the operation of the company is harder to catch. For example, the 5% opt-out.

When you learn a “social good” company keeps part of the proceeds, people automatically think “See, I knew there was a catch. They’re not all that good.” This could be your thought even if the funds being kept are for something reasonable like operations.

Millie turns around and says, “Hey, if you don’t want us to get the 5%, let us know. We won’t stand in the way of your donation.” This does a few things.

No longer does the user try to convince themself that they’re being swindled. The user now has the power of choice, and the power to change their mind. We might not see something as a loss if we know we can take it back at any time. Also, Millie is showing they trust their users, and are confident in their ability to maintain their own operation. Suddenly, the user feels less pressured and feels more trust towards the company.

This is not to say that every company should do this. Let’s just recognize the policy seems like an intentional and purposeful function within Millie’s operation.

Another way Millie accomplished framing operations is the set-up of the app. This can be seen in the company’s savvy tech and grasp on modern culture. Millie frames (literally builds) the app to be as easy as using Tinder, and as fun as browsing Instagram. Rachel touches on this notion during an interview:

“The goal here, says Millie founder and CEO Rachel Klausner, is to turn those instances when you’re sucked into your phone into something productive. Now, an app designed to capture your attention and keep you engaged will actually be doing good for the world.”

Applicable Takeaway 

An anchor-based on framing can impact the user’s acceptance of the company. Naturally, this impacts participation and loyalty. One beneficial experiment is to develop context to place your company within.

Millie’s fitting idea of framing completes this profile.

People Helping People Podcast is seeking methods clearly supporting an effective impact. Observations and discussions on happenings in the social enterprise community is a significant part of our contribution to social good. Continue to check-in for more conversation-starting content.

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