BY ANDY GOLDMAN-GRAY, INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT GIVEMN
As a nearly 20-year veteran of the Twin Cities marketing and fundraising scene (and having recently joined the ranks of independent marketing and development consultants) I’ve had the opportunity to see the inner workings of a few beloved institutions around town and nationally. I’ve gone behind the screen at the Omnitheater at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime working with Northern Spark, our one-of-a-kind overnight arts festival.
And now I have the honor of working with an innovative organization that never stops looking for ways to grow giving in Minnesota.
Last fall, I was asked if I would help GiveMN expand their year-round marketing strategy. Of course, I jumped at the chance. Just six months later, GiveMN’s founding Executive Director Dana Nelson took a new post as the charitable and community lead for the 2018 Super Bowl. The GiveMN board asked me if I would serve as interim executive director, and I am proud to be supporting the “Green Team” and serving organizations across the state as the board carefully searches for their next executive director.
I’m no stranger to GiveMN. I have partnered with GiveMN since its founding in 2009 and previously served on the board. I’m so passionate about the mission—growing giving in Minnesota—a sentiment that has defined much of my professional career. We Minnesotans take great pride in the fact that our home is listed among the most charitable states in the country year after year, and GiveMN strives to keep Minnesota’s undeniable giving culture at the forefront of new technologies and trends.
Even though I’ve been involved since its founding, I have still been surprised to learn new things about GiveMN since I’ve had a glimpse behind the “green curtain.” For my first blog post as interim executive director, I’ve decided to do a little myth busting based on some common questions we’re frequently asked.
Myth #1: GiveMN is a for-profit business or affiliated with state government
GiveMN is actually a nonprofit organization just like the organizations we serve. We are part of the Minnesota Philanthropy Partners family and a support organization of Minnesota Community Foundation. Just like other nonprofits, we have a mission that guides the work we are passionate about. In simple terms, we exist to grow charitable giving in Minnesota, introduce more people to the joy of giving online, and help nonprofits and schools evolve their fundraising strategy to stay on the cutting edge of technology and embrace online giving.
Myth #2: GiveMN is expensive for organizations to use
Every time you use a credit card for a purchase, it costs money to process that transaction. You may not notice it because it is often pretty hidden, but it is a real cost for anyone who accepts credit card payments. That’s why sometimes at the gas station you’ll see an advertised discount if you use cash. Other times, companies build credit card costs into the price of the items you are buying.
These costs apply to online giving as well. GiveMN takes a very transparent approach so that you know exactly where your gifts are going. We have worked diligently to keep processing fees just at 4.9%, comparable to other online giving sites. Some sites may have a slightly lower card processing percentage, but include additional per-transaction fees or even annual subscriptions for organizations that can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. And unlike other online giving sites, GiveMN actually creates marketing buzz for all nonprofits and schools in Minnesota. That’s part of our overall mission to ignite generosity, made possible thanks to our generous corporate and foundation funding partners and individual donors. We are here exclusively to bring together Minnesota organizations and the generous people who care about them. We are based in St. Paul and regularly travel to all corners of our state. We ONLY play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.
Myth #3: GiveMN only raises money for _________ organizations
Fill in the blank however you’d like. We hear this concern on a regular basis. But at GiveMN, we like to think of ourselves as the Switzerland of giving. We are neutral and enjoy cheering on all of our state’s nonprofits and schools. We consider our mission met when people give online, when they make informed giving choices, and when they are able to connect with new organizations or support a friend’s fundraising efforts. We’ve seen so many different types of organizations find success fundraising here—large and small groups, geographically diverse, and making our communities stronger in many different ways.
Myth #4: I can only give through GiveMN on Give to the Max Day
There’s no doubt that Minnesotans have embraced Give to the Max Day as a statewide giving holiday each November, but GiveMN was built to provide an online giving marketplace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! And there’s definitely reason to come back! You can build your own pages to fundraise for your favorite nonprofits and schools, keep all of your giving history in one report ready to be printed at tax time, set up recurring payments to sustain your favorite organizations year-round, and much more.
I’m excited to be on-board with GiveMN through Give to the Max Day this fall. And I’ll keep looking for great stories of generosity and #TrendingPhilanthropy to share with you on this blog. If you have ideas for how GiveMN can grow giving in Minnesota or make online giving more exciting, fun, and easy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ignite generosity. Grow giving.