Partake in a little sledgehammer therapy in St. Paul.
Help some duct-tape wielding students stick it to their teacher in St. Louis Park.
Laugh it up in Minneapolis. Experiment with watercolors in Anoka.
These are all ways in which Minnesota nonprofits and schools hope to entice donors to open their hearts — and wallets — during the 8th annual Give to the Max Day. The 24-hour online giving marathon is Thursday.
Last year, more than 62,750 donors gave $18 million to 5,726 Minnesota nonprofits via the website givemn.org.
Many nonprofits and schools will host real-world parties and events to rouse donors. They understand that while online tools make it easy to give, a fun and heartwarming pitch in person can seal the deal.
“Nonprofits and schools get more and more creative with their Give to the Max Day strategies,” said Jake Blumberg, executive director of GiveMN, which organizes the day of giving.
“We encourage organizations to come up with something that tells a story for their supporters. For some organizations, it means having something in person. For others, it’s a funny cat video.”
The nonprofit Spare Key hopes to break fundraising records this year with its 12-hour Smash to the Max event in St. Paul. For $20, donors will be given a sledgehammer for five minutes of recreational destruction with old cars, appliances and household items.
The nonprofit helps families of sick children make a mortgage payment.
“Every year we try to do something outside the box,” said Sophie Lasko, Spare Key marketing and events manager. “People like social media and Snapchat, and they like interactive events.”
This year, the HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis will host 28 hours of live improvisation to drum up donations.
Students at the Academy of Whole Learning in St. Louis Park are hoping to raise $10,000 so they can duct tape a teacher to the wall.
Looking for something a bit softer?
Animal Allies Humane Society in Duluth is hosting an open house with activities that include dog walking and playing with kittens.
Rum River Art Center in Anoka is offering donors a chance to explore their artistic side with watercolors and polymer clay.
Metropolitan State University is hosting a 10-hour “Lecturepalooza” for its second year in Give to the Max Day. Last year it raised $11,000 with no in-person fanfare. This year the schools is aiming for at least $12,000, because a donor has agreed to match the money if it reaches that threshold.
Lecture topics will range from community development to how to camp in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“We don’t have puppies here, but we do have world-class faculty and a wildly diverse range of expertise,” said Kristine Hansen, Metro State’s alumni relations and annual fund director.
Give to the Max staff have even organized a roadshow this year to inspire giving. Staffers and volunteers will drive to six Minnesota cities on Thursday, stopping for games and surprise giveaways as part of its Road to Generosity tour. The hope is that in-person cheerleading will inspire even more folks to donate.
Launched in 2009, Give to the Max was designed to turn philanthropy into an event with prize giveaways for participating charities and up-to-the-minute online scoreboards that track which nonprofits are raising the most dollars.
Since its inception, it has helped raise $140 million for Minnesota nonprofits and schools.