24 hours, millions of dollars, thousands of nonprofits—What gives in Minnesota? | Beth's Blog

24 hours, millions of dollars, thousands of nonprofits—What gives in Minnesota?


Note from Beth: Last week, Washington, DC held its first ever Give to the Max Day where 1300 nonprofits were fundraising and experimenting with social media tools and raised over $2 million in 24 hours. The campaign was modeled after the grand daddy of match days that happens throughout the entire state of Minnesota. Launched in 2009, the third match day will happen on Wednesday, November 16th.  Jeff Achen gives us the inside view.  Good luck and Go Minnesota!

Guest post by Jeff Achen, GiveMN.org

On November 16, 2011, Minnesotans will take part in the 3rd annual Give to the Max Day. Our goal in this 3rd year is to raise millions of dollars for thousands of Minnesota nonprofits in one day. It’s a goal that is increasingly being shared as communities all across the country celebrate their own giving days.

So far, the Give to the Max Day events in 2009 and 2010 have raised $14 million and $10 million respectively, more than in any other community.

So what gives in Minnesota?

Relationships with funders

As a nonprofit organization ourselves, we have our share of fundraising asks out there. Though it never comes easy (and we too get our share of rejections), we’ve managed to convince a number of key funders of the value that this online giving event brings to Minnesota. It’s the ability to initiate and nurture these relationships that has helped us succeed.

Relationships with sponsors

The collective buzz about this statewide event is appealing to sponsors, but so is the desire to align brands with social good. Our ability to communicate the opportunities and impact on Minnesota has helped us succeed.

Relationships with key partners

We’ve had a great time brainstorming new promotional ideas, creating new tools and new ways to market ourselves. But to pull off all these incredible things, we need talent outside of our small organizational talent pool. Key partnerships with TheUpTake.org, Mall of America, Razoo and Padilla Speer Beardsley have been critical to our success. Our ability to imagine new and previously untapped opportunities for collaboration and bring them to fruition has helped us succeed.

Relationships with nonprofits

None of us is as strong as all of us. This axiom is at the heart of Give to the Max Day. Our efforts to raise millions of dollars in one day is largely attributable to the collective effort of the Minnesota nonprofit community to market, promote, endorse and celebrate giving in solidarity one day out of the year. We strengthen this collective movement by providing webinars, live training at local and regional conferences, a social media planning guide, and nonprofit tools throughout the year.

Relationships with donors

All of this relationship building helps us build the relationship with donors. We reach them because “we” is not just the staff of GiveMN. It’s thousands of individuals committed to putting GiveMN’s tools to work for Minnesota and transform the way Minnesotans experience giving.

We consider ourselves a Networked Nonprofit. And as such, we don’t work any harder or longer than other nonprofits. We try to work differently. We nurture lots of relationships, every day at conferences, in coffee shop meet ups, on Twitter, in response to emails, on the phone and at our kids’ schools with fellow parents. The point is, it’s lots of conversations and many different channels that help us forge meaningful, rich relationships to engage in our community’s most pressing causes.

I urge you to do an honest assessment and look at how effectively you initiate and nurture relationships with funders, sponsors, key partners, follow nonprofits and donors. Is there an area you need help? Share your comments and questions with Beth and I. None of us is smarter than all of us.

What is GiveMN.org?

GiveMN is a collaborative venture to transform philanthropy in Minnesota by growing overall giving and moving more of it online. GiveMN is an independent 501(c) (3) organization that is a supporting organization of the Minnesota Community Foundation. Many partners shaped GiveMN to build upon Minnesota’s strong tradition of philanthropy, including: ADC, Blandin Foundation, The Otto Bremer Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Central Minnesota Community Foundation, Ecolab Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, General Mills, Inc., Greater Twin Cities United Way, HealthPartners, Initiative Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, Northland Foundation, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, The Saint Paul Foundation, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Target, UCare, West Central Initiative Foundation and Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. For more information, visit www.GiveMN.org.

What is Give to the Max Day?

Give to the Max Day is one day to inspire unprecedented levels of charitable giving online in the state of Minnesota. Hundreds of nonprofits will offer the opportunity to double donation dollars throughout the 24 hours. Nonprofits which offer a donation match will be highlighted on a special search page on GiveMN.org. Every donation donors make gives their favorite organizations the chance to win the “Golden Ticket” — one donor will be randomly chosen every hour to have $1,000 added to their donation. And, nonprofits that get the most people to donate during this event will receive prize grants worth $15,000, $10,000, $7,500 or $5,000.

Jeff Achen is the interactive media strategist for GiveMN. Jeff is in charge of video production, photography, graphic design, communication efforts and social media strategy for GiveMN, including the GiveMN blog, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


7 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    Give to the Max was really fun. I don’t want to rain on its parade at all, but am just wondering if anyone who gave last week will be less likely to give again before the end of the year. Did that effort replace the year-end push for anyone? Will it amplify year-end efforts? Are the donors a totally different crowd? Just curious, as what I gave during #give2max will impact my personal year end charitable budget.

  2. Beth says:

    Wendy: Maybe you have to look at it as would you have given as much at year-end if you didn’t have the stimulus of the campaign?

  3. Mazarine says:

    I love this concept. When you give both toolkits to get the word out AND a deadline, remarkable things can happen for nonprofits and organizing community supporters.

    One of the things I have a question about is, who organizes the sponsorships of #Give2Max?



  4. Love your blog – great seeing you at the Texas Nonprofit Summit. Here’s a potential future article subject about raising $10M in one day in North Texas – links for you here – I’m sure you know people at CFT but if not, let me know as I can help: http://www.cftexas.org/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=709. All the best!

  5. Beth says:

    Carolyn: Great to hear from you, love this idea. Please do make an introduction, although on a book deadline until December …

  6. Élan says:

    As a Minnesotan, I am so proud on our Give to the Max day. Aside from the donations, many of our nonprofits host events to celebrate the day. It’s a lot of fun. I was constantly checking my organization’s donations all day!

  7. […] secure commitments from sponsors orgs. Jeff Aichen, the interactive media strategist for GiveMN.Org wrote that, “the collective buzz about this statewide event is appealing to sponsors, but so is the […]