5 Ways to Make Your Fundraiser Feel Like $14 Million

What ‘zooGooder Council members do in meetings is something like what Batman does in his bat cave. It’s — shhh — closed to most outsiders.

But since we’re in the age of transparency and social media and doing good for others, we’d like to give a high-level glimpse into our ‘zooGooder calls — the time when a featured expert shares all of his or her best online fundraising secrets in a ‘zooGooder meeting of minds.

Our most recent expert was our very own Varsha Raju, the marketing honcho here at Mightycause. Varsha shared about Give to the Max Day, which last year raised more than $14 million in just 24 hours. How can you benefit from some of the lessons? Read on:


  • – “Give to the Max Day” (GTMD) is a 24 hour giving day for the state of Minnesota hosted by GiveMN.org (a nonprofit coalition organization of several community foundations across MN) and powered by Mightycause
  • -Goals of GTMD: (a) help MN nonprofits attract NEW donors to their cause, (b) encourage giving behavior online vs. check-writing (lower cost of fundraising/administration for Nonprofits)  (c) promote a culture of philanthropy and a “coming togetherness” across Minnesota.
  • -Mightycause and GiveMN collaborate on the design, promotion/marketing, and delivery of the GTMD campaign

Give to the Max Day 2009

  • -November 2009 marked the creation of GiveMN and the inaugural Give to the Max Day campaign.
  • -In 2009, nearly $500k in (unrestricted) matching grants was offered by GiveMN sponsors — matched ~$.35 on the dollar. That year, we raised $14M in 24 hours for 3,434 MN nonprofits and had more than 38,000 individual donors participate in the day of giving.

Bringing it in 2010

  • -This year, on Nov 16th, we hope to break our record last year, with the hopes of inspiring even greater donor participation with especially more involvement outside of the Minnesota’s urban areas.
  • -This year, GiveMN is not providing matching grants. Instead, we are asking each nonprofit to “bring their own $1 for $1 match” — funds that they can feature on the Mightycause platform to encourage donors to give because it will “double your dollars.”
  • -We are offering prizes for both nonprofits and donors: the top two nonprofits who have the most donors give, receive $20k and $10k, respectively.  Plus, each hour of the 24 hour period, we will randomly select one donor to win $1,000 for their nonprofit — which creates both an incentive for donors and nonprofits to participate actively throughout the campaign period.

Lessons for Fundraisers

  1. Think longer term than just one fundraiser. Create a plan that builds on each of your previous fundraiser and prioritize your goals. For example, first fundraiser builds awareness. Second fundraiser, inspires more donors to participate, third fundraiser increases money raised and wider participation.
  2. Establish/communicate clear and easy to understand goals. Are you trying to increase the dollar amount raised? Or working to inspire more people to experience giving? Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and don’t try to achieve everything in your first campaign. Consider additional benefits gravy.
  3. Kickstart your campaign with a matching grant. This creates incentives and answers the question, “Why give today?”
  4. Forge partnerships. Don’t go it alone. Get your nonprofit involved to help you  promote your fundraising effort, provide matching funds, or engage a sponsor.
  5. Thank your donors. Giving takes thoughtfulness. Don’t forget to offer a pat on the back by communicating during the campaign with regular progress updates and “thank you’s” to donors. Show how their donation is making a difference

Watch Give to the Max Day 2010 by watching the real-time website or following the hashtag #gtmd2010Start your own fundraiser today.

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