5 Lessons You Can Steal From Minnesota's Give to the Max Day

Bedlam Theater: Ben Marcy in a cage (photo courtesy of GiveMN.org )
12.21.2011By

Bedlam Theater: Ben Marcy in a cage (photo courtesy of GiveMN.org )

Last month the Minnesota Give To The Max campaign raised over $13,414,253 (yes, over $13 million) for almost 3,978 MN nonprofits. This was 22% more than what was raised in 2010.

Oh, and did I mention that it was all done within a 24-hour period?

Below is a list of the strategies they employed. Please feel free to steal them for your online fundraising strategy.

Put Community Before Cash

2011 was the third year in a row for the Minnesota Give to the Max Day. In 2009, one of their goals was to build an active base for an ongoing community. With their core community, GiveMN.org was able to crowdsource ideas, resources, and volunteers to help in 2010, and now in 2011.

Use Multiple Channels

Minnesota’s Give to Max Day was not a social media fundraising campaign. Of course social media was a big part of it. But so was traditional PR, Newspapers, TV Interviews, Email marketing and word of mouth.

Sell the Buzz to Sponsors

A good part of the money came from matching donations secured by nonprofits. And again, the combined power of these orgs helped secure commitments from sponsors orgs. Jeff Achen, the interactive media strategist for GiveMN.Org wrote that, “the collective buzz about this statewide event is appealing to sponsors, but so is the desire to align brands with social good.”

Let Owners Own

Another thing that made GiveMN work is that the leaders knew when to get out of the way. They made sure that participating organizations, volunteers and partners were able to run with whatever responsibilities they accepted.

If instead, Jeff and his team tried to manage every single person and activity, they would have created a huge barricade for everyone. Jeff wrote that, “[their] ability to imagine new and previously untapped opportunities for collaboration and bring them to fruition has helped [them] succeed.”

Tie Together Rafts

Jeff writes, “None of us is as strong as all of us.” One of the most brilliant aspects of Minnesota Give to Max Day is that it leveraged the communities of thousands of nonprofits, focusing combined attention a single effort.

Many of these organizations could have easily launched their own online fundraiser, and may have had some success. But they realized that uniting together created much bigger results for each individual organization. These organizations are like tiny rafts struggling to stay afloat in the face of an impending storm, but then lash together to create a force they could have never created separately.