Philanthropy beat: Minnesota charities get rebate over Give to Max

 

Minnesota nonprofits whose online fundraisers crashed on Give to the Max Day on Nov. 14 will get a 1 percentage point rebate on their credit card transaction fees from the company responsible for the technology mess.

The online giving platform Razoo and its Razoo Foundation announced the rebate last week. Nonprofits welcomed, but didn’t go wild, over the move that reduces their transaction fees from 5 to 4 percent.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to give back to the organizations, but there’s a bigger issue here,” said Susan Wineland, president of the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which supports nonprofit fundraising around the state.

“We want them to take this seriously,” she said. “We all understand there can be technical issues. But they need to do their due diligence to make sure they have everything in place so this doesn’t happen again.”

Give to the Max Day, held in mid-November, is an online giving marathon now in its fifth year in Minnesota. This year it raised $17.1 million for 4,400 nonprofits and schools, from animal humane societies to the Guthrie Theater.

The morning rush of donations overwhelmed Razoo’s servers and the Minnesota website that hosted the giving — GiveMN.org. For nearly five hours, it was difficult if not impossible for Minnesotans to donate on the site.

“It shouldn’t have been a surprise, based on past years, that millions of dollars would need to be processed from the get-go,” Wineland said.

Dana Nelson, executive director of GiveMN, apologized for the problems.

“We know we can never fully account for the donations that may have been lost, nor can we make up for the frustrations experienced by donors and organizations,” she said. “However, we deeply appreciate the patience, generosity and understanding with which you responded.”

The rebate will be reflected in Dec. 10 disbursements.

 

Jean Hopfensperger • 612 673-4511

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