Ideas for Nonprofit Fundraising – From Give to the Max Day, 2015

Final ‪#‎GTMD15‬ Stats! $18,063,598 raised. 121,095 gifts. 62,740 donors. Benefitting 5,694 nonprofits and schools. Thank you, Minnesota!

The quote above comes from the Facebook post GiveMN published after their day of success. They were able to rally the community behind a day of BIG giving, that goes on to benefit the community’s nonprofits. People love to know that they’ve made a difference and Give to the Max Day showed them that they could. Read on to glean ideas for nonprofit fundraising.


How Give to the Max Day works

GiveMN sponsors a day of giving, encouraging nonprofits, businesses and other organizations to partake as GiveMN Administrators and put their efforts into maximizing donations on Give to the Max Day.

Starting in the summer, they have a Trainings page which walks participants through marketing strategy and setup for fundraising efforts. They also have webinars and training events to gear people for the day. Next they provide a Toolkit which includes logos, strategies for engaging businesses, and other such documents. To continue their follow up with participants, they send out monthly emails with updates leading up to the day.

Ideas for your nonprofit: Sponsor fundraisers in which proceeds go to your cause, but the actual fundraisers are done by volunteers. Then focus your nonprofit’s efforts on providing these volunteers with abundant assistance – a toolkit with materials they can send out to their friends and family and emails with updates and ideas to keep their campaign strong. Like GiveMN, give your participants ample time to get this going – with months leading up to a grand finale.

In the end, make it a celebration, telling them how much money was raised and what a difference they made. Spread awareness on social media and the local news, not only to promote donations, but also to allow the fundraisers/participants see that the cause they are working towards is bigger than their single event.

Incentives for Participation

Besides the donations that the nonprofit pools during the fundraising for this day, there are even more incentives for both the organization’s participation, and for donors to donate. The largest donations are rewarded, as seen below. They also have drawings for the “golden tickets” which are taken from a $1,000-$10,000 in prizes for an organization.


Ideas for your nonprofit: If possible, seek out a larger sponsor who is willing to reward donations by contributing to that participant’s fund. Keep in mind that people will be more encouraged to fundraise if they see that their work could be amplified.


The GiveMN spread of events is diverse and exciting – their events get the whole community involved. Examples include:

  • Give to the Max Day Happy Hour – at a local brewery with games, appetizers and beer. Encourages people to pledge for monthly giving.
  • Improve Theater – an “Improvathon” that includes 125 local improvisors and 28 hours of improvisation.
  • “Sweat to the Max” – CrossFit gyms pledge $1 for every burpee completed.
  • High School Pep Rally – cheerleaders and teams encourage each parent that drives past the school to donate
  • “Raising Dough” – pre-order holiday baked goods and part of the proceeds go to a nonprofit
  • MN Timberwolves game – $20 ticket and people wearing green to spread awareness.

Ideas for your nonprofit: Rally every type of donor. GiveMN encouraged creativity from multiple types of organizations. This doesn’t have to be events that solely revolve around donations, but can also include events that simply raise awareness for your nonprofit.

Case in point: don’t feel like your team at your nonprofit has to plan out every event and promote the cause all on your own. People want to help and they can be wonderfully creative when given the incentive. As you plan 2016’s fundraising events, keep this in mind.