Donors bucked national trends Thursday on Give to the Max Day, contributing $34.1 million to Minnesota schools and nonprofits and falling just shy of last year's record of $34.4 million.

GiveMN, which runs the collective online fundraiser known as Minnesota's annual "giving holiday," had expected donations to reflect the broad trend of donations dropping to levels that were seen before the COVID-19 outbreak sparked historic donation totals in 2020 and 2021.

Instead, donors from every county in the state, and every state in the country, shelled out $34,067,008 to more than 6,000 Minnesota organizations for the 14th annual event.

"Minnesota donors set the curve, rather than followed the curve, that's for sure," said Jake Blumberg, executive director of GiveMN. "Minnesota has a uniquely engaged and vibrant nonprofit sector, as well as a uniquely engaged donor base."

This year's donations far surpassed the $30.4 million collected in 2020, as well as the $21.6 million in 2019. While Give to the Max Day is marketed as a 24-hour fundraiser, the total amount included all money raised since Nov. 1.

Many nonprofits will continue to appeal to donors this month and in December, a critical year-end period for boosting revenue. Giving Tuesday, a national effort to encourage charitable giving, also takes place next week.

"Nonprofits and schools continue to have increased need," Blumberg said. "So one day's success is not where it stops."

The growth of Give to the Max Day over the years has also helped GiveMN expand as a nonprofit. The organization benefits from a 2% fee on its online transactions and has increased revenue through a consulting service launched in 2019 to coach nonprofits on fundraising.

The Minneapolis-based organization, which started in 2009, has an annual budget of more than $2 million and nine paid staffers, up from zero initially. Blumberg said he plans to add at least five employees in 2023.

"If we can continue to support this vibrant nonprofit sector in Minnesota," he said, "it means Minnesotans are better off for it."