Millions of dollars poured into Minnesota charity and school fundraising accounts Thursday for another record-breaking Give to the Max Day.
The unofficial statewide giving holiday raised $21.06 million, beating last year’s record total of $20.6 million.
“We continue to be amazed and grateful for the deep generosit Minnesotans show to the incredible organizations doing such important work across our state,” said Jake Blumberg, executive director of the nonprofit GiveMN that runs the day.
This year, more than 50,000 individuals donated to thousands of good causes during 24-hour online giving marathon.
Some of the highest fundraisers throughout the day were hunger-relief organizations Second Harvest Heartland food bank and Feed My Starving Children, animal charities Secondhand Hounds and the Animal Humane Society, and arts groups HUGE Improv Theater and Springboard for the Arts.
Give to the Max turned 10 this year, and many nonprofit leaders testified to the day’s growing importance in rallying donors at the start of the holiday season.
“Minnesotans love to come together to do something big,” said Judy Watke, development manager at Feed My Starving Children. “The genius of Give to the Max Day is everyone feels like they are part of something bigger.”
The day progressed smoothly with the website and fundraising portal running without problems throughout the day.
GiveMN redesigned the Give to the May Day website and hired a new technology partner, Virginia-based Mightycause, this year to improve the donor and nonprofit experience, Blumberg said.
Bloomington nonprofit Bridging sailed past its $25,000 goal by 11 a.m., and that will be doubled by a matching grant.
Donations were coming in faster than anticipated. Bridging’s Donor Relations Manager Maggie Mau, who was clandestinely checking donation totals at a meeting, couldn’t resist interrupting with a celebratory whoop when the nonprofit reached its goal so early in the day.
The holiday season is Bridging’s biggest fundraising season. Give to the Max, which always falls on Thursday in mid-November, has become an important launchpad.
“When you get this kind of momentum early on, it really sets the stage to finish the year out strong,” said Bridging spokeswoman Diana Dalsin.
Give to the Max Day has brought in about $170 million in donations over the decade. Nonprofit leaders say the day’s festive feel, coupled with enthusiasm for online giving, changed the way Minnesotans give to good causes.
In Coon Rapids, dozens of volunteers gathered at Feed My Starving Children’s warehouse Thursday to pack meals and celebrate Give to the Max Day, and the mood was festive. Volunteers in hair nets scooped and bagged dried grains and vegetables, grooving to 1980s pop music playing in the background.
Natalie Schmidt, of Dellwood, was one of those volunteers and said she’s a fan of Give to the Max.
“It’s a great way to highlight some of the amazing organizations here in Minnesota. This is one of my favorites,” Schmidt said.