MN's Give to the Max Day: Trends to Watch in Year-End 2019

December 2, 2019  |  Grace Duginski

In the great state of Minnesota, l’étoile du nord, there are at least two distinct acts of good that you can check off early no matter the reason: voting and donating! In Minnesota, donors are encouraged to donate on Give to the Max Day, which usually falls earlier than Giving Tuesday and lets nonprofits get a head start on the giving season. The effectiveness of this fundraising day lies in its ability to spread out busy website traffic, decrease the pressure on your organization to achieve a fundraising goal in Giving Tuesday’s 24 short hours, and harness state and local sentiment to encourage generosity where it can make a concentrated impact. 

Even if your organization isn't based in Minnesota, it's worth looking at the trends and successes displayed during Give to the Max Day fundraising for year-end inspiration. Here are some things EveryAction clients did in partnership with GiveMN to ensure successful fundraising on Give to the Max Day: 

Friday, Nov. 1: Early giving begins! 

At T-minus two weeks to the event, this push for donations is great for website traffic – not only does it give you time to build awareness of the campaign, but when traffic is spread more broadly like this it lessens the likelihood that your page will crash later on Give to the Max Day itself due to highly-concentrated traffic. 

In early November, nonprofits began to raise awareness on social media using specific branding and imagery for Give to the Max Day and pairing it with their own branding. Some examples of successful social media posts include: 

Gender Justice 

Gender Justice’s posts on Instagram and Facebook, both static images and videos, helped them reach their fundraising goal by educating their donors on how Give to the Max Day dollars would support their work. 

To kick off their Give to the Max Day push, they shared a straightforward post (and introduced a matching program in the caption), a Give to the Max Day post on a specific area of their work, and two posts thanking their audience for donations: a video when they hit their initial goal, and later a graphic when they had reached even more in donations.

Gender Justice - give to the max introgender justice trans rights fundraising postgender justice donation summary


OutFront MN 

In 2019, thanks to their donors, OutFront MN were 2-time Golden Ticket winners. They were also 10:00-11:00pm Power Hour winners, ranked #17 with 53 donations totaling $2,683. Here are some examples of how they shared their fundraiser with their supporters: 

On Instagram and Facebook, they created six posts letting their audience know Give to the Max Day was approaching. They included compelling personal narratives to illustrate the impact of their work: 

OutFront MN fundraising instagram postOutFront MN fundraising instagram post 2fundraising instagram post 3

Once the event had wrapped up, OutFront MN posted a short video to Instagram and Facebook thanking their audience for their donations. 

Wednesday, Nov. 13 – “Early Giving is underway!” 

Outside of specific organizations’ social media campaigns, the Give to the Max Day home page also works in specific ways to draw in donors. Nonprofits should take note of multiple aspects that make this campaign successful, including:

Giving is underway!

  • Minnesota-specific imagery – the power of Give to the Max Day lies in how specific it is to the state. Most Minnesotans will recognize the state bird, a loon; the image of the bird on the lake also recalls the adage that Minnesota is the “land of 10,000 lakes”. 

  • Countdown clock – this creates a sense of urgency, reminds donors (existing and prospective) that this day is a very narrow window, and builds excitement for giving to begin. 

  • Big green "donate" button – as many graphic designers, illustrators, and artists already know, green can be a very potent color to use when discussing money. 

  • Downward arrow – the animation of the arrow pointing downward draws in the viewer and invites them to read the rest of the website. It’s very straightforward. 

  • Integrated social media – specifically, embedding Twitter posts to show the buzz of the event 

  • Ongoing ability to set up a fundraiser – the site makes it clear that even on the day before the event, it’s not too late for nonprofits to set up a fundraiser. 

  • Branded hashtags – organizations are encouraged to put out content with the hashtags #GiveToTheMax and #GTMD2019 so their supporters can easily find them. 

Thursday, Nov 14: Give to the Max Day! 

giving tuesday day 1 homepage

Though the branding remains consistent, on the day of the event the website had a slightly different look, including: 

  • A countdown clock with a new red icon, which creates urgency for donors to give before the “deadline”. 

  • A real-time dollar count – centrally-featured and actively counting donations, this also bolsters the sense of urgency around the event. 

  • Familiar layout – still straightforward as before, with the arrow pointing down and inviting viewers into the page. 

  • Minnesota-specific imagery – another lake, another way to reinforce the local and community-centered nature of the event. 

Clicking the arrow down, viewers are shown new tabs: 

give to the max day 2 homepage

  • Leaderboards – these are organized by organization size and/or by specific Minnesota region, so site visitors can make it as relevant as possible to their own needs. This also creates a sense of excitement and urgency among donors, as the information on the leaderboards is updated in real time. The Leaderboard FAQ offers more detail on how organizations are ranked. 

  • Special events – two types of  Golden Ticket drawings and Power Hours -- winners are updated in real time. 

  • Comparison maps – donors can see a map of donations from last year, which is a useful way of driving donors to want to beat prior records. 

  • Graphics – once again clean, on brand, and effectively communicate the message. 

  • Social media recommendations – a dedicated Tweet to the Max page on the website is especially helpful, given that nonprofits come to 24-hour fundraising events with varying levels of digital literacy. Donors can find content with hashtags (#GiveToTheMax, #GTMD2019) 

  • Reminders about setting up a fundraiser – the site makes it clear a nonprofit can still start a fundraiser on the Give to the Max Day site the day of the event, even though giving is already underway. 

After Give To the Max Day: 

The website was updated. 

giving wrap up page

  • The website’s main page was updated, keeping the strong state-specific imagery. 

  • The donation total is featured prominently, which promotes pride among donors and organizations. 

Donors got a thank-you. 

donor thank you page

  • There are now clear calls-to-action to continue donating, and they’re fresh and relevant to donors because they connect donors to matching grants. 

  • Is it too early to start building excitement for next year’s Give to the Max Day? Nope! The language here shows you can celebrate and still keep looking forward at the same time. 

  • This is another way to provoke curiosity about how the event unfolded, and keep donors engaged for next year. 

  • Donors may also appreciate the reminder that their favorite nonprofits have the chance to receive support on Give to the Max Day not just from individual donors, but also from GiveMN.