Everyone can Give to the Max

FAIRMONT – The infusion of technology into our everyday lives has altered the mode of charitable giving in Minnesota.

While you might still see bellringers collecting donations during the holiday season, the days of volunteers visiting neighbors to solicit funds has fallen by the wayside.

GiveMN is gearing up for its fifth annual Give to the Max Day on Thursday, and you don’t need cash to participate.

“The goal is to raise millions of dollars for non-profits and schools in one day,” said Dana C. Nelson, executive director of GiveMN.

People can log on to www.GiveMN.org and find the non-profit organization or public school they support. Then, using their bank or credit card, they can make a donation.

“It (Give to the Max Day) is such a great way to bring awareness to the community,” said Sara Gaalswyk, Martin County Area Foundation board member.

“My generation is hardcore into it,” the 26-year-old Gaalswyk said. “It’s all over our social media pages like Facebook.”

In 2009, the Minnesota Community Foundation, based in St. Paul, initiated a collaborative venture to offer an online site for charitable giving. The first Give to the Max Day that year was part of the endeavor’s launch strategy.

“It worked really well the first time, so we continued to do it,” Nelson said. “Last year, we raised $16.3 million.”

Organizations that have filed the proper federal tax exemption paperwork are listed on the GiveMN.org website, as well as many public schools.

“All non-profits are automatically on there [website],” Nelson said. “We do request that [public] schools opt into GiveMN to receive their funds. We hope they would look for the page and encourage administrators to get signed up.”

Last year, the first year public schools were listed on the GiveMN website, about 240 public schools listed received over $400,000 on Give to the Max Day.

“The number of public schools included has doubled since last year,” Nelson said.

Currently, more than 500 public school are listed.

GiveMN accepts donations all year long, and Give to the Max Day is held each November, Nelson said.

“It’s great. It’s so easy to donate,” she said.

After logging on to GiveMN.org, donors can type in the appropriate zip code for the community they wish to help, and then select a non-profit or public school to receive their gift.

“There are so many different causes,” Gaalswyk said. “Make sure you donate. It’s such a great way to help.”