Give to the Max Day is Nov. 12

| October 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

GTMD15LogoHorizontalColorSafeGive to the Max Day — an annual online fundraising effort that last year raised more than $18 million in donations — has yielded a mixed bag of results for Catholic schools and organizations.

Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, for example, has been the top recipient the last three years running, garnering $610,610 on Give to the Max Day 2014.

Few Catholic schools and nonprofit organizations have had anything close to that kind of success during the 24-hour marathon of giving, but with budget challenges, most are grateful for whatever donations the program delivers.

On Give to the Max Day — Nov. 12 this year — donors typically are prompted with an email message to click into They use the search capability to locate a specific school or nonprofit or find one in a list of participating organizations, then make a gift via credit or debit card. Last year 62,607 people donated to 5,544 schools or nonprofits.

The St. Therese Foundation, which supports senior housing and care at several locations in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has participated in Give to the Max Day each of the past six years.

Along with one web page on to promote general donations to an organization, participating schools and nonprofits are allowed a second web page to request donations for a specific reason, and St. Therese takes advantage each year by selecting a different project for which to request support, said Jennifer Thurston, the foundation’s events and public relations director.

Donations in total have come to under $5,000 each year, Thurston said, and that amount means Give for the Max Day is not a big fundraiser for the St. Therese Foundation.

However, she does appreciate “the spirit of the day,” as she described it. “People look forward to it and they look for our name” among the charities, so it’s important for St. Therese to continue to participate, Thurston added.

Every dollar helps

In the Phillips neighborhood of south Minneapolis, Centro Guadalupano at Holy Rosary Church serves immigrants and economically disadvantaged people with educational and human services programs, and again will take part in Give to the Max Day.

In the past the nonprofit has focused on promoting its English Language Learners classes through the one-day online initiative. This year executive director Ginger Graham said she intends to switch the online promotion simply to request help with general operating expenses, “and the English language classes are a part of those, of course,” she said.

Centro Guadalupano has received from $2,000 to $4,000 from Give the Max Days over the years.

“It’s a good way to promote giving in general,” Graham pointed out. In her marketing efforts for the day, she includes an envelope, so she feels she’s reaching both those who appreciate the convenience of donating online as well as those more comfortable writing a check and who prefer not to share credit card information online.

Graham noted that although the fundraising program originally charged a transaction fee just over 2 percent for each donation, that fee has risen to 4.9 percent.

While others who raise funds for nonprofits found the fee to be a hurdle, Graham was philosophical about it.

“If it costs 4.9 percent and we get five to 10 new donors to add to our mailing list [and who will continue to donate in the future], that’s worth it,” Graham said.

Targeting new donors is how the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity utilizes Give to the Max Day, according to Thomas Ryan, vice president for institutional advancement, each year taking advantage of a challenge gift to increase support for the seminary.

Good ROI for some

CommonBond, the nonprofit housing group that began as a program of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has benefited significantly from Give to the Max Day.

“We’ve determined it has value to our overall fundraising program,” said Ann Ruff, vice president of resource development.

“There’s a certain audience that will respond to an online campaign just as some people would respond to a mailing,” Ruff said.

Since the inception of Give to the Max Day, CommonBond has received between $22,000 and $30,000 in donations, said Kathy Tolo, CommonBond major gifts officer.

“Whether we put a lot of time and effort into it or dial it down, we get a pretty steady amount,” Tolo said. “In terms of staff time and effort, return on investment is 99 percent.”

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