Non-profits on Give to the Max Day

I spoke to the heads of a range of Minnesota non-profits today. Here's some of what they had to say about their experience with and "Give to the Max Day."

Janet Bisbee, Director of Development, Resources for Child Caring, Inc:

We were very excited about it, because we had not done a lot of online giving before. We found that people took advantage of it. What was exciting was that 8 of the 20 donors we got were brand new, and one donor we hadn't heard from since 1990... It really encouraged organizations like mine to get our houses in order and get our Facebook pages spiffy and start to communicate more about ways to give online. Going forward we will definitely continue to use GiveMN.

What I really liked about the day was the sense of camaraderie with other organizations, knowing that we were all sitting at our computers watching this incredible thing unfold. I really can't think of anything else like this that has brought non-profits and donors come together this way.

About the match - I'm concerned about it, because I know some people are feeling misled by organizations. Going forward I think this is going to enforce us all to be clearer about what exactly the matches are.

Gunnar Liden, Executive Director, Youth Farm and Market Project

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It went really well, we raised a good amount of money. I think also giving us the publicity and the reason to link up with our donors about what we're doing and the needs we have was a very good thing. I think it has the potential to be great but I'm hesitant to evaluate the impact of it until possibly the first of the year. For a lot of organizations this time of year is big, so if Give to the Max either makes that easier for organizations to connect with their donors or allows an easier way for new donors to come in, I think it will be even more successful.

The downside potential would be if after the 17th, the majority of the people who are doing giving in the Twin Cities are sort of done.

A one-stop-shop is great. That being said, organizations develop relationships with donors and if donor A took this chance to give $10 to 15 organizations instead of $110 to the one organization they've given to for the past ten years every year, that would be a potential downside for those organizations that have those relationships.

Louise Wolfgramm, President of Amicus

It was fantastic. Pretty effortless. We understood that we didn't know exactly how much the match would be, that it depended on the response. So our expectation wasn't great around the matching part of it. I don't think it was misleading to our donors either.

I think everybody is just overwhelmed by the generosity of Minnesotans to respond to the charities they care about.

I think one of the concerns people have when they do their giving online is that the organization is not getting the full amount, so maybe it would be better if I sent a check, but if they can do it online - people read your material, they feel motivated when they see it, and if we can make it easy enough for them to give online it's a really efficient way to do it for everybody, especially if they don't take a fee out of it. So I think we will definitely encourage people to give that way.

Susan Haas, Producing Director, Open Eye Figure Theatre

It came up really suddenly - I heard about it mid-week last week and we scrambled to get something up. I've been looking at it to see what would we have gotten anyway, because I would say that almost 40% of it was from board contributions that would normally have come at the end of the year, so I think it drove a lot of the end of the year giving into this just because of the idea of the match.

To my mind I'm just blown away by the tool that has been handed us through the site. It was really easy to use, it's a real service as far as I'm concerned. Open Eye has one administrator - me! - so I really appreciate it.

I think there was a lot of miscommunication and the fact that they did change things as they went along, and I can't even say that I really followed all of it because we're just adding this to everything else we're doing. So that was unfortunate but I sort of look at it like the way we do things here at Open Eye- it's like "well it's not perfect yet, but you've got to start somewhere."

That's it for tonight... you can read/listen to the story I did on GiveMN here. Tomorrow I'll take a look at how arts organizations fared on Give to the Max Day.