Minnesotans across the state have made it a yearly tradition to open up their hearts and wallets every November on Give to the Max Day. In fact, Give to the Max Day has become such a hit that the rest of the country has quickly followed Minnesota’s lead

“Give to the Max Day has become the model for almost every other major online giving event that exists across the country and around the world,” explained Jake Blumberg, executive director at GiveMN, the nonprofit which organizes Give to the Max Day. “So, it became an annual tradition in Minnesota and it’s really a great example of the Minnesota nonprofit sectors leading across the county.”

GiveMN kicked off Give to the Max Day in 2009. At that time, nonprofits and schools were looking for a way to start raising money online. “It’s hard to remember,” recalled Blumberg, “but back in 2008-09, online giving wasn’t what we think of today, it was a very new thing.”

GiveMN hosted a 24-hour online donation drive for the first time “with the hope that it would just get people to give,” said Blumberg. “They did not know how much it was going to catalyze giving though. They thought maybe it would be half a million dollars or something like that … $14 million later on that first Give to the Max Day, they realized they had something much more than just an announcement event on their hands.”

This year, Thursday will mark the 13th annual Give to the Max Day. The giving celebration has certainly grown since its first debut in 2009 and last year’s “giving holiday” brought in $30.4 million in donations for Minnesota nonprofits and schools. “It has really become an annual celebration, almost a holiday of sorts of generosity in the state of Minnesota,” said Blumberg.

Though the actual big day isn’t until the 18th, the giving party has already started. A period of “Early Giving” began on Nov. 1 and goes until the official Give to the Max Day.

“Unlike early voting where you only get to vote once, early giving doesn’t mean you can’t come back again and give on Give to the Max Day,” explained Blumberg, “and in fact, we hope people do.”

Every day during “early giving,” GiveMN will award one lucky donor a “golden ticket.” The golden ticket will top off the winner’s donation with an extra $500.

Things really heat up on Give to the Max Day, when $500 will be awarded every half hour and $1,000 every hour. At the end of the day, one final “golden ticket” will be awarded, adding an extra $10,000 to the winner’s donation. All of the “golden tickets” are courtesy of the Bush Foundation.

People who are interested in giving can check out GiveMN.org which Blumberg calls “Google for Minnesota nonprofits and schools.” The website offers an easy and user-friendly way for individuals to find nonprofits and schools within their community.

“I think it’s a chance for us as a state to come together and celebrate something that is really powerful — which is this idea of supporting your neighbors and doing so in a way that is fun,” explained Blumberg. “There is a lot of joy in giving and there is a lot of joy in Give to the Max Day ... and I think it’s really an opportunity for Minnesotans to support one another and learn about the new and different causes that they probably care about right in their own backyard.”

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