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- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Minnesotans already rank off the charts when it comes to civic engagement like voting and volunteering - so, what might happen when you turn them loose to raise money for nonprofits across the state?
GiveMN's Executive Director Dana Nelson sits down with us as part of our Citizen-Centered Solutions series to share her thoughts on an innovative giving marketplace that's setting a new standard for online giving.
Kari: Of all of the different tactics you could have employed, why did you choose to go the route of public participation?
Dana: I think GiveMN is a bit different than the other programs that you are featuring in this blog series. We aren’t soliciting solutions from citizens or doing voting contests - although I am a big fan of the other initiatives being featured, like MN Idea Open! GiveMN was created to revolutionize philanthropy in Minnesota through a new charitable giving platform launched in November, 2009.
GiveMN is the brainchild of the Minnesota Community Foundation. They were following how new tools and technologies were enabling exciting new ways to give. They recognized that organizations on the cutting edge of these changes were engaging millions of people - both new and existing donors - drawn to the ability to make new kinds of direct connections with their favorite causes and the organizations that are advancing those causes. The Minnesota Community Foundation wanted to put these tools to work for Minnesota.
GiveMN’s vision is to host the most dynamic giving marketplace in the country that is the destination for charitable giving in the state of Minnesota. We are an e-philanthropy site that is a new model for online giving. We combine engaging, easy-to-use technology with trust-based, local relationships. We are helping donors find causes and helping nonprofits get new donors - it is an entirely new way to think about fundraising for most nonprofits. Instead of researching potential donors and sending direct mail, now donors are looking for organizations to donate to online. If your organization is not online - you can’t be found in Google or GiveMN search! GiveMN exists to be an on-ramp for nonprofits to the internet and a marketplace for donors.
We think the formula is working … GiveMN quickly became one of the nation’s leading web portals for charitable giving. Through our inaugural Give to the Max Day challenge, GiveMN set unprecedented online giving records as nearly 40,000 individuals gave more than $14 million to over 3,400 nonprofits in 24 hours. This success launched GiveMN into the top charitable giving portals, surpassing Facebook’s Causes, Donors Choose and GlobalGiving. Donors continue to give to Minnesota nonprofits on GiveMN and have donated over $650,000 in the first quarter of 2010.
Kari: How do you avoid nonprofit contest fatigue - for the individuals and the organizations?
Dana: As a year-round e-philanthropy platform, GiveMN’s strategy is to create several promotions throughout the year that reach different audiences. For example, we are partnering with the Bremer Foundation to provide matching funds to incent giving to youth-serving organizations. They are excited to engage their employees and customers at Bremer Banks throughout Minnesota which hopefully will inspire people to give that may not currently give to youth-serving or any charitable organizations. Another promotion will focus on nonprofits in the Brainerd area with a challenge grant from the Initiative Foundation. The idea is to have several segmented promotions (to targeted geography areas, for specific causes, etc…) throughout the year and one annual mega promotion, Give to the Max Day, that we publicize widely across the state.
We are hoping that the variety of giving opportunities will reach different audiences, so that the same people aren’t getting solicited over and over to give to the same causes.
Kari: What resources are you providing participants beyond the grant?
Dana: As a year-round e-philanthropy site, GiveMN doesn’t provide grants directly to nonprofits but rather serves as a resource to facilitate online giving by providing the tools and functionality that many Minnesota based nonprofits couldn’t afford to create and build on their own. We provide webinars and consultation on how to effectively integrate online fundraising into a multi-channel development strategy and create fun and engaging promotions to drive traffic to GiveMN and ultimately grow philanthropy.
You can view the webinars on the GiveMN blog:
About GiveMN GiveMN is an innovative online resource that is changing the way Minnesotans give and strengthening Minnesota’s nonprofit community. Through its engaging web platform, GiveMN helps nonprofit organizations of all sizes reach new donors, increases giving through fun and engaging campaigns and significantly reduces overall fundraising costs. GiveMN helps individuals find, learn and contribute to local and national programs, facilitates quick and easy online donations by credit card, and organizes online charitable contributions in one location.
About Dana Nelson Dana Nelson is the executive director of GiveMN. In her role, Dana helps Minnesota nonprofits of all sizes reach new and different audiences and enables donors to find, learn about, and contribute to local and national programs that support the causes in which they believe. Before joining GiveMN, Dana was at Target Corporation for the past 6 years. She led Target’s team member engagement strategy and national service initiatives, collaborating with organizations such as the Corporation for National and Community Service, Hands on Network and the Heart of America Foundation among others. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, two sons and two Chihuahuas.