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Minnesotans urged to 'Give to the Max' this week

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WILLMAR -- Minnesotans are known to be generous givers all year long to support charities, churches and other philanthropic organizations, but local and statewide organizations are hoping donors respond to a 24-hour fundraising blitz that begins after the stroke of midnight on Thursday.

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The "Give to the Max" day uses online giving to make it easier for donors to give to nonprofit organizations, while giving the nonprofits an opportunity to conduct an inexpensive fundraiser.

According to the website GiveMN.org, which hosts the Give to the Max event, it costs seven cents to raise $1 online. By comparison it can cost 20 cents for each dollar raised for grant writing or up to $1.25 to acquire new donors through direct mail.

For every 1 percent of Minnesota individual charitable giving moved online, the nonprofit sector will save more than $5 million in fundraising expenses, according to the website.

This will be the fourth year that the innovative online giving program has been held. Since it began in 2009, more than $50 million has been raised for participating organizations through the online vehicle.

Last year 47,000 individual donors gave money to charities through the online program.

A number of local organizations have benefitted from the Give to the Max events in the past, including United Way of West Central Minnesota, which is about mid-way through its annual fund-raising campaign.

The one-day flurry of fund-raising is a "little extra bonus," said Sara Bos, resource development director for United Way.

Over the last few years they raised a total of $28,049 by participating in the Give to the Max event.

Bos said that if all of the nearly 5,000 donors in the United Way database each gave $10 on Thursday by going to the GiveMN.org website and clicking on the local United Way box, they could raise nearly $50,000 in one day.

That would be a nice shot in the arm to help United Way reach its $900,000 goal for 2012.

GiveMN.org also puts a little fun into the day by selecting one donor each hour during the 24-hour timeframe who will earn another $1,000 for that organization.

"This alone is why we ask our donors to log on and give a little on that day," said Bos. "Who knows, it could be your donation that is chosen and how exciting that would be for you and the organization you are donating to."

There are other incentives for top earners for the day.

People may be surprised to see the wide variety of nonprofit organizations that have registered and are ready to receive donations. Most area schools and their academic, athletic and artistic organizations are on the list, as well as churches, senior citizen groups and nonprofit organizations for individuals with developmental disabilities or those living in poverty.

To donate, log on to www.givemn.org then type the name of an organization in the locator box and click "donate." Donors can also type in the name of their hometown to find all the different organizations that are registered and click and donate.

The event begins as 12:01 a.m. on Thursday and ends at 11:59 p.m.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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