Nov 18, 2021 - News
Donations to flow to Minnesota nonprofits for Give to the Max Day
A stack of money tied up with a red bow.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Super Bowl of fundraising for thousands of Minnesota nonprofits is upon us.

Driving the news: Today is Give to the Max Day, an annual 24-hour push to raise cash for organizations in need.

Why it matters: Even with record giving last year, many nonprofits could use more support.

  • Half of members surveyed by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in October said they could face financial distress within a year, according to associate director Kari Aanestad. Twenty percent were worried about the next six months.

The big picture: The online give-a-thon is intentionally held during the end-of-year fundraising push that many nonprofits rely on to set their budget for the year ahead.

  • Organizers with GiveMN say 39% of participating groups rely on Give to the Max as their primary fundraising campaign.

What they're saying: "People want to have a sense of belonging, and by declaring a holiday in the middle of November we have provided people with an opportunity to give together," GiveMN executive director Jake Blumberg told us.

How it works: Your inbox is probably bursting with requests from groups you've supported in the past. But if you need ideas for new or additional nonprofits to back, try Give to the Max's donation matching tool.

  • Special promotions, such as "power hours" and other bonuses, are also meant to drive donations made through GiveMN's site.

Between the lines: The "dual pandemics" of COVID-19 and the fallout following the murder of George Floyd have increased and exposed the need for services provided by many nonprofits, GiveMN executive director Jake Blumberg told us.

  • And while many racial justice-focused organizations saw a spike in support in 2020, groups that are led by, or focused on providing support to, people of color remain underfunded compared to those run by white people, Blumberg added.

Plus: Federal relief dollars helped meet short-term needs as demands for services increased during the pandemic. Some leaders worry about what will happen once those cash sources are spent.

  • "The bigger question the sector is grapples with is: Where's the funding coming from?" said Minnesota Council of Nonprofits executive director Nonoko Sato. "There's a heightened uncertainty when so much of what sustained us through the last two years was relief funding."

By the numbers: Minnesotans gave a record $30 million last year, up from $21.6 million in 2019, per the Star Tribune.

  • Blumberg expects contribution to exceed 2019's total again this year.

Of note: Contributions made through GiveMN include a 6.9% fee to cover credit card processing and administrative costs of hosting and promoting fundraising efforts year-round.

  • Many nonprofits also accept direct donations from their own sites.

The bottom line: The pandemic has made digital fundraising even more crucial, as many organizations paused in-person galas or events.

  • The need is especially high right now for many smaller, direct-service nonprofits, including rural organizations and groups doing culturally-specific work in the metro, Sato noted.
  • So if you're able, it's a great day to give to a nonprofit whose mission you support.
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