Introducing Giving Madness: a Giving Game for Companies of All Sizes

Giving Madness

💡 The Big Idea


In March 2019, Rachel Klausner, the founder of Millie, grabbed a coffee with Tim Smith, a philanthropy and impact guru. He planted the seed for Giving Madness by musing out loud that it would be cool if there were some kind of giving around March Madness. Rachel had spent her life creating things that somehow tied back to sports, and even brackets: like a sports camp for kids and the National Hillel Basketball Tournament. She knew that brackets were a fun way to gamify anything, and so the idea took root. Over the years, Rachel and the Millie team ideated, prototyped, and designed every detail of the experience.


🏀 What is Giving Madness?


Giving Madness is a bracket-style giving tournament. Structured like the most famous college basketball tournament, your company starts with 16 nonprofits in the giving bracket. Companies contribute to a donation pool and employees vote to advance their favorite nonprofits through four rounds of “games” over the course of one week or month. After the championship game, the pool gets divided up and donated proportionately.


🛠 The Problems


For companies: 

  • As hard as they try, People leaders and Social Impact professionals regularly struggle to engage their employees in impactful workplace initiatives. When it comes to corporate donation matching, participation rates are as low as 11%, especially among small donors. 
  • Companies tend to be out of touch with the causes that matter most to their employees. They often choose which nonprofits to support behind closed doors, without an efficient way to learn what their employees care about.

For nonprofits: 

  • Nearly 80% of donations are made in the last six weeks of every year, leaving nonprofits high and dry the rest of the year.


🤝 Our Fabulous Partners Helped


Between a fortuitous competition and an amazing collaborative sprint by IDEO, Better Giving Studio and The Gates Foundation, the Millie team got pretty lucky: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation saw the potential and wanted to bring the dream to life. Pilot funding from the Gates Foundation supported the development of Giving Madness. It will also subsidize the cost of the tool for all companies for one year and will enable free access to organizations with 25 people or fewer.


💸 The Solution


The inaugural Giving Madness will take place this March, 2022! Giving Madness translates the concept of brackets from sports to philanthropy. It allows corporate teams to build their own ‘giving brackets’ where employees play to give. This simple, fun game engages employees, helps companies learn what matters most to their workforce, and gets nonprofits much-needed funding in Spring.

 🎉 It Works!


The best part? It works! Here are some kind words from Megan Goddard, the CSR Program Manager at Checkr:

“Our employees are going crazy over Giving Madness! Before this feature, we didn’t have a great way to include our employees in our grant-making efforts. Now they have a voice in the process and get to share it in such a fun and engaging way! Beyond employee engagement, Giving Madness has the potential to shift traditional power dynamics involved in corporate philanthropy, where companies define impact and direct how resources are used. Through Millie, nonprofits are empowered to choose how they represent themselves and broadcast their mission and impact to a far greater audience of supporters.”


By now we all have a sense that workforces engaged in a culture of giving benefit from better employee satisfaction and retention rates. That’s why workplace giving is growing like crazy. 87% of companies are aware that their employees expect them to support causes their workforce cares about. With Giving Madness, we set out to design an easy plug-and-play solution to help companies and employees do more good.


🤩 Our Vision


Rachel puts it like this: 

“One day, if March turns into another giving moment like Giving Tuesday, with the focus on corporate giving and how companies can impact the world, then we’ve more than nailed this whole thing.”
Want to learn more about Giving Madness?