Minnesota nonprofits hope you Give To The Max

Online fundraising event is Nov. 16

When Give To The Max Day debuted in 2009, it smashed previous single-day online fundraising records, with Minnesotans donating more than $14 million to the state’s nonprofits.

The organization behind the fundraising, GiveMN, which is supported by the
Minnesota Community Foundation, hopes to build on its previous success — $33 million raised over two years — with the third annual Give To The Max Day, Nov. 16.

Billed as “The Great Minnesota Give Together,” the goal of Give To The Max Day is to funnel inexpensive online fundraising into a single event, with matching money and other incentives to donors to support their favorite charity. Last year, more than 42,000 people donated to more than 3,400 organizations. Potential donors can search for nonprofits, projects, fundraisers or teams to support at GiveMN.org using keywords or by ZIP code.

Here’s how a few Southwest organizations are encouraging their supporters to give to the max.

Improv around the clock

HUGE Theater, 3037 Lyndale Ave. S., is holding a “24-Hour Improv-a-thon” in conjunction with Give To The Max Day. The nonprofit theater was started in 2010 as a place to support improv performers and the Minnesota improv community.

The Improv-a-thon begins 10:00 p.m. Nov. 15 with a party, rolling into its official start on midnight of Give To The Max Day.

Shortly after announcing the Improv-a-thon, HUGE signed up more than 80 improv performers for the event. The theater has a suggested donation of $10 for entry, the minimum individual donation that counts toward Give To The Max Day. Prizes will be awarded to performers, such as airfare to improv festivals.

“Minnesota’s fantastic Give to the Max Day is offering HUGE an opportunity to show the wealth of improv talent here in Twin Cities,” said Butch Roy, the executive director of HUGE Theater. “We are incredibly lucky to have such great support among both artists and audiences.”

The audience for the Improv-a-thon is not required to stay through the entire 24-hour performance, but those audience members who try will be given a supply package. Anyone who makes it through the entire day will have their name inscribed on a wall at HUGE.

The theater is also raising money directly through GiveMN.org with four different ways to donate.

Southwest looking for lights

The Southwest High School Foundation is raising money through Give To The Max Day in order to update and install lights at Southwest Stadium. Southwest football played its first ever night game Sept. 23 under rented stadium lights and the foundation is looking to make the lighting permanent.

Besides stadium improvements, the Southwest Foundation provides scholarships to graduating Southwest students and has worked to provide equipment and supplies to the school.

Jodi Wishart, who took over as president of the Southwest Foundation two years ago, said the foundation’s participation in the event is part of a combination of ways in which the group is trying to raise money.

“Our hopes are that through Give To The Max Day we’ve created an easy way to donate,” she said.

Modeling sustainability in Lyndale

The Lyndale Neighborhood Association is working with Give To The Max Day on the Lyndale Stormwater Management Project in order to build a gathering place and rain gardens in the back of the Lyndale Community Center.

The goal of the project is to be a model of sustainability, showing how old buildings can be retrofitted to better manage storm water.

One can donate directly to both the Southwest High School Foundation and the Lyndale Neighborhood Association at GiveMN.org.

GiveMN maintains that online fundraising is the most cost effective way for nonprofits to raise money.

The organization’s argument goes like this: Every dollar raised online costs just 7 cents, while reaching donors via direct mail, for example, can cost $1.25 per person. Minnesotans donate more than $4 billion a year to nonprofits, and for every 1 percent of that giving that can be raised online nonprofits will save $5 million in fundraising costs.

Prize grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded to the nonprofits and Minnesota colleges or universities that receive the most money. In addition, one donor every hour of the day will randomly be given a “Golden Ticket” worth an extra $1,000 to their donation’s recipient.

The Minnesota Community Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation sponsor Give To The Max Day. For more information or to donate, go to GiveMN.org.