How Minnesota's 'Networked Nonprofits' Raised over $10M in 1 Day! | Beth's Blog

How Minnesota’s ‘Networked Nonprofits’ Raised over $10M in 1 Day!


Note From Beth: Last year I covered Give to the Max Day and the impressive results.    This year before the event Jeff Achen write a post sharing their strategy for 2010.     This guest post discusses the results.

Minnesota’s ‘Networked Nonprofits’ raised over $10M in one day by Jeff Achen of

“Do what you do best and network the rest.”

That’s simple, but wise advice from the definitive nonprofit social media strategy manual, “The Networked Nonprofit.” Here at GiveMN, we’ve harnessed the power of our networks to raise record amounts of money online for nonprofits in Minnesota and engage record numbers of people in an annual, one-day giving event—Give to the Max Day.

On Nov. 16, 2010, we shattered our goal of 40,000 donors in 24 hours by engaging 42,596 unique donors who donated to their favorite nonprofits using the platform. All told, Minnesota nonprofits collectively raised $10,041,021 in one incredible day.

Our technology partners at powered all of this. They specialize in providing innovative web-based products and services to help people and organizations all over the country achieve their philanthropic goals. They designed and created all of the amazing pages and tools on GiveMN.

Social media strategy payoff

In my Nov. 16 guest blog post, “How to use social media to inspire 40,000 people to give on one day,” I outlined our social media outreach and strategy efforts. From the looks of our post-event survey data and Google traffic reports, social media played a big part, particularly Facebook.

We had 130,492 visits to throughout the 24 hour event on Nov. 16. Here is the breakdown of traffic:

Direct = 64,834

Facebook = 21,865

Twitter = 827

Linked from an email = 5,966

Linked from a nonprofit website = 5,872

Other (search engines/news sites/etc.) = 31,128

Since our outreach efforts focused on providing nonprofits with social media resources, email templates and content such as a video PSA for use on their homepages, it would seem those efforts paid off when it came to driving traffic.

Here are some highlights from our post-event nonprofit survey*:

• 55.4 percent of respondents said social media worked best for promoting Give to the Max Day. (83.1 percent said sending out email promotions worked best. Multiple answers were acceptable.)
• 93.3 percent of respondents said their organization benefitted overall from Give to the Max Day.

And, here are some highlights from our post-event donor survey*:

• 61.2 percent of respondents said Give to the Max Day was their first time using GiveMN.
• 77.1 percent of respondents said they heard about Give to the Max Day from an email from their nonprofit. (Percentages were in the teens for those who heard about the event via television, radio, newspaper, Facebook/Twitter and friends)
• Only 31 percent of respondents said they found it useful to be notified of giving opportunities on Facebook or Twitter.
• 51.2 percent of respondents said their preferred method of giving was online through nonprofit’s website. (17 percent said they preferred to give through a third party site like, however 97.1 percent said they would use GiveMN again in the future.)
• 81.9 percent of respondents were female.
• 90.9 percent of respondents were 31 or over.
• 61 percent of respondents earned less than 90,000 per year in total household income.

Leveraging our network

Looking back over this data, it’s clear to us that our social media and broader marketing & communications efforts were on target. We can credit much of this success to the principles outlined in Beth and Allison’s book.

First, GiveMN has built strong relationships with large numbers of people and nonprofits entities. We depend on those relationships, not only for messaging about a one-day giving event, but for creative feedback and collaborative fundraising efforts throughout the year. We also seized the opportunity to indoctrinate many nonprofits that were in their social media infancy. Our outreach helped many of them understand where social networks could strengthen their online fundraising efforts, particularly on Give to the Max Day, and we shared tips and tricks for engaging their donors through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Second, we have a small staff, so we really try to focus on what we do best and network the rest. Our Executive Director Dana Nelson is our only full-time staff member! This means we focus on our core mission of transforming philanthropy in Minnesota by growing overall giving and moving more of it online. Our technology partners,, focus on improving the platform and tools. We network with more than 3,700 Minnesota nonprofits to share the stories of giving and news about innovation and best practices in our shared community. Because we’ve built a network that spans the nonprofit community in Minnesota, a network built on trust, we are moving giving forward, despite bad economic times.

As pointed out in The Networked Nonprofit, leveraging our network is about clarifying roles, coordinating efforts, keeping others apprised of what we’re doing, and sharing resources and ideas. Social media channels (our blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have been critical to leveraging the Minnesota nonprofit network. Ask any of the nonprofits who raised money through GiveMN and they’ll tell you social media has also been critical to leveraging their donor networks.

We have a lot of work left to do. We have to nurture our ever-growing network of nonprofits and donors. We can use social media, in addition to other forms of electronic and in-person communication, to build and strengthen these relationships. On behalf of GiveMN and, we invite you to join us in that endeavor.

*Survey remains open. Total nonprofits who completed the survey as of 11/30/10 = 313; Total donors who completed the survey as of 11/30/10 = 2,839

About Jeff
Jeff Achen is the interactive media strategist for GiveMN. Jeff manages the day-to-day operations, communication efforts and social media strategy for GiveMN, including the GiveMN blog, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Prior to joining GiveMN, Jeff was a multimedia reporter, editor and producer for ECM Publishers, Inc., a community newspaper group in central Minnesota.

9 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nptechblogs, bethkanter, Chuck Horton, Paul's Feeds, AllThingsM and others. AllThingsM said: How Minnesota’s ‘Networked Nonprofits’ Raised over $10M in 1 Day! […]

  2. […] you want to read this case study. Which case study you ask? It’s the case study of how “Minnesota’s ‘Networked Nonprofits’ Raised Over 10M in One Day, with Only One Full-Time Employe…” That case […]

  3. Nicole says:

    Congrats all around to everyone who participated in this awesome fundraising event!

    I have to say that I also think there’s a larger context to the GiveMN story- that Minnesota’s nonprofits are very well networked through many avenues, including several umbrella groups and a particularly strong statewide association of nonprofits, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. (I used to work there, so perhaps I am biased…) In addition to MCN, nonprofits convene in other ways unlike I’ve seen living in other parts of the country. Training is part of the effort – training of nonprofit staff – and also the networks of the nonprofits themselves – staff, board members, donors.

    So hooray for GiveMN and the many other institutions and philanthropies that have made Minnesota’s nonprofit sector particularly robust!

  4. […] blogging at Beth Kanter’s blog, interactive media strategist Jeff Achen explains how GiveMN, an online giving platform, “harnessed the power of [its] networks” to raise […]

  5. Robert says:

    Awesome job. Great example of what can be done!

  6. Jamie says:

    Hello Beth,

    I just bought your book, The Networked Nonprofit and that lead me to your website. I was wondering if you know of a website like only for Canada? I tried using Razoo for our canadian non-profit but it’s only for the States.

    Your book is great so far, I just got it today.



  7. Good says:

    cool entry cheers, found you through yahoo.

  8. Adria says:

    Folks, I know I am not in the right location…but i need your help. Where do I find a trust worthy charity that helps with stopping illegal sex trade? I am hoping I can make a big difference.

  9. I know I’m totally late here, but two things that I’d love to pass on to your guest poster: first, a question–maybe I missed it somewhere, but how did you drive traffic directly to the GiveMN site (was that by advertising it on nonprofits’ sites, but just not linked? or how?) And, second, a story: a friend of mine who lives in Minnesota made some contributions to my birthday charity and some organizations here in Kansas because she was “sitting down at her computer for Give to the Max Day”. She had already contributed to several Minnesota organizations, and so I just wanted you to know that your efforts to promote giving spread even beyond your borders, and what you can track! Wonderful work!