More about the GiveMN Team!

The GiveMN Green Team

Sure, you can read about our backgrounds and experience in our bios on the GiveMN staff and board page, but we wanted to take time to introduce our (mostly new!) GiveMN Green Team in more detail!

Below, read more about our small but mighty team of five – what drives us, our quintessential GiveMN moment, favorite Minnesota getaways, and how we connect with the community when we’re not at work. (And as a bonus, Alsa shares the secret of one of our favorite little ice cream places in St. Paul!)

Browse the team by scrolling down or skip around by clicking below!
Jake Blumberg, Executive Director
Dan Moore, Director of Operations and Donor Experience
Andrea Kopfmann, Director of Campaigns and Partnerships
Tom Zimmerman, Marketing and Communications Manager
Alsa Bruno, Community Outreach Specialist


Jake Blumberg, Executive Director

Jake Blumberg, Executive DirectorRole at GiveMN: I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead a dynamic team, and engage with our community of partners to continually grow giving in Minnesota through fun and innovative models. As a fundraiser, I am energized by the opportunities we have in our state to continue creating new ways to ignite generosity in donors to support mission-driven organizations.

Why you came to GiveMN: For me, the most appetizing part of the GiveMN mission and values is that “pie is good…and more pie is better!” As a leader of coalition fundraising efforts and dynamic online campaigns throughout my career, as well as an avid pie-eater, I am driven to create greater opportunities for organizations to generate the resources they need to pursue their missions.

What makes you excited to come to work at GiveMN everyday: I have had the joy of helping individual organizations reach their fundraising goals, and there is almost no more fulfilling feeling I could think of in my professional world. At GiveMN, we have an opportunity to support and grow the strategies our nonprofit and school partners use to reach their goals—and I am humbled by the chance to help numerous organizations, not just one, cross those important fundraising finish lines.

Your quintessential GiveMN moment: My eighth (and ninth, and tenth days) on the job were Give to the Max Day 2015, and I was thrilled to be able to do television interviews with the Twin Cities broadcast stations to promote Minnesota’s Giving Holiday bright and early at 5:00 am.  When WCCO’s morning team decided my energy was worth duplicating in their weather forecast that morning, I knew I had found the right gig!

Favorite Minnesota destination: I had a chance to attend a beautiful wedding at Two Harbors off the shore of Lake Superior, and we had an amazing time exploring the area and celebrating with friends—a great memory from a beautiful destination!

One area of your job you’re passionate about: A life-lesson I have learned from my time as a fundraiser is that we rarely get what we don’t ask for—and I know that this is true for organizations working to meet their annual budget needs.  I am a big supporter of asking early and often for support from donors, and then in turn, making sure we thank them (and thank them again!) for their contributions, no matter how large or small they may have been!

Other things you do: I am honored to be an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, University of St. Thomas, and St. Catherine University, where I teach classes in leadership development and fundraising strategy.

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Dan Moore, Director of Operations and Donor Experience

Dan MooreRole at GiveMN: Along with keeping the trains running on track in our office, I’m responsible for teaching organizations how to maximize their fundraising while providing a fulfilling experience for donors using GiveMN.org.

Why you came to GiveMN: When I heard that GiveMN was hiring, I jumped at the chance to move from supporting a single organization to a job where I get to serve thousands of organizations. It’s an honor to serve my home state through innovation, and I love working indirectly for so many of the causes that mean so much to me and to the people of Minnesota.

What makes you excited to come to work at GiveMN every day: No other organization celebrates giving like GiveMN. Together with nonprofits, schools, and donors in every corner of Minnesota, we’ve shattered the old-school fundraising model and put a fresh face on philanthropy. Every day, vital work is done in communities across Minnesota, powered by generosity expressed by donors using GiveMN.org. We are matchmakers for giving and a catalyst for good. As a data-driven strategist and product-development perfectionist, I can help unite Minnesotans with the causes that need their help. It doesn’t get more rewarding than that.

Your quintessential GiveMN moment: A community volunteer wrote to us not long after we launched our new website in 2014 and had questions about how to set up her organization’s fundraising page and share it with neighbors that were coming to a block party. We got the whole GiveMN team together around the phone and called just as she was coming in from the garden. She told us she had dirt up to her elbows but she was very excited to hear from us and that having an online giving tool for her small, volunteer-led organization would give her more time to mentor youth in her community rather than messing around with other websites.

Favorite Minnesota destination: I love so many places in Minnesota, from the innovation of a world-class clinic in Rochester to the peace of my favorite campsite on the edge of Voyageurs National Park. But my true favorite has to be the Mall on the campus of the University of Minnesota Morris. And if anyone can point me back to that scenic overlook between Starbuck and Willmar where the whole valley looks like Tuscany, I’ll make a donation to your favorite cause!

One area of your job you’re passionate about: Stories are what really hit me in my work. I hear stories about people who are helped by an organization, nonprofit leaders whose jobs are made just a little easier, donors who find new causes to get involved with, and the principal who thought he was pranked by his colleagues when I called to tell him a donor had helped his school win a $20,000 prize on Give to the Max Day!

Other things you do: I’m proud to serve as the president of the University of Minnesota Morris Alumni Association this year and spend as much time as I can with family, cycling, cooking, and volunteering with youth music education organizations.

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Andrea Kopfmann, Director of Campaigns and Partnerships

Andrea KopfmannRole at GiveMN: I connect people and organizations to help ignite generosity all across Minnesota.

Why you came to GiveMN: Give to the Max Day is something I’ve always wanted to work on! Coming to GiveMN allows me to be a part of the historic day while utilizing my past work experience from both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Knowing the big impact that can happen when the two come together in alignment, I jumped at the opportunity to be able to work here.

What makes you excited to come work at GiveMN every day: GiveMN is and will continue to be a leader in the nonprofit fundraising community, both here in Minnesota and across the country. So many nonprofits and schools partner with us as they make their fundraising plans year-round. I want to be a part of something bigger, and something that will continue to push the envelope for giving in the state of Minnesota with direct impact here and around the world.

Your quintessential GiveMN moment: I like being a part of the small team that makes up GiveMN. We make a habit of going out for impromptu lunches and coffee breaks as a group which allows us to get to know each other on a personal level and advances our teamwork toward our mission.

Favorite Minnesota destination: I have to give a nod to my alma mater Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. I loved being in that community for four years. Go Mustangs!

One area of your job you’re passionate about: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Never underestimate your network and how it can work for you. Your staff, donors, and volunteers are all vital to your organization and can be your best cheerleaders.

Other things you do: I am on the board of TeamWomenMN whose mission is to inspire, encourage, and support women in reaching their full potential.

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Tom Zimmerman, Marketing and Communications Manager

Tom ZimmermanRole at GiveMN: At its simplest, my job is to communicate with nonprofits and schools about resources for online fundraising and site news, and try to keep generosity at the forefront of Minnesotans’ minds.

Why you came to GiveMN: I’ve worked on similar online giving projects in the past, but to work every day on behalf of thousands and thousands of organizations across this state…what’s not to love about that!

What makes you excited to come work at GiveMN every day: There are many reasons, but I absolutely love watching organizations of all sizes and types set and meet their fundraising goals, and see how that truly affects change in their neighborhoods, across the state and country, and around the world. It’s so fulfilling to be a small part of that success.

Your quintessential GiveMN moment: My first Give to the Max Day. We lived in our office for almost 48 hours straight (with a nap or two in a quiet corner.) Watching the number of donors and money raised skyrocket was a blast, but following along with thousands of organizations and donors on social media was like a big celebration of generosity.

Favorite Minnesota destination: I’ve lived in Minnesota less than a year but had the fortune of being able to travel all across the state for my job. So far, driving up the North Shore has to be my most memorable moment, but I’ve planned a summer full of Minnesota travel for this year!

One area of your job you’re passionate about: I love the power of social media to connect. Although your organization’s social media profiles are important to maintain and feed with fresh content, I am most passionate about helping nonprofits and schools plan to empower their own supporters to be fundraisers online just like they would ask them to go door-to-door selling candy bars or popcorn.

Other things you do: I serve on the board of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of the Twin Cities and am now officially an ambassador for my new state to all of my friends and family back in Virginia and Georgia!

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Alsa Bruno, Community Outreach Specialist

Alsa BrunoRole at GiveMN: Happiness Champion. My job is to best connect our users with our resources through trainings, direct email communication, and representing GiveMN around our state. I am the head “How To” in “How To Use GiveMN.org.”

Why you came to GiveMN: I came to GiveMN because I love helping people. GiveMN makes that possible for me in the best way, letting me serve all of Minnesota nonprofits and schools as well as those who love to support them. It’s like a dream come true!

What makes you excited to come to work at GiveMN every day: GiveMN is a spectacular concept that allows people from all walks of life the ability to support their passions and encourage others to do the same. It’s great to be part of a team that takes their commitment to Minnesota’s nonprofits and schools seriously, but also values making giving a fun act of love.

Your quintessential GiveMN moment: As Give to the Max Day 2013 was winding down around 11:30 p.m., after a very long day, I stood before an audience at Triple Rock Social Club and explained how far we’d come, how amazing our donors and organizations are that people from across the country were giving. Behind me, unbeknownst to me, they put up a projection of a map of the giving happening across Minnesota in real time. The crowd, who was already cheering, erupted in riotous applause and some among them even began to tear up watching such giving blanket our state.

Favorite Minnesota destination: My favorite Minnesota destination is the peak of the Smith St. “High Bridge” in St. Paul. Well, I love all of the bridge in St. Paul, but I love the peak of that bridge and looking at all of the potential ahead, all of the space around. PLUS, the High Bridge leads to the Icy Cup – the world’s best ice cream shop and home to “West Side Soul” music nights, community music made fresh every Tuesday when it’s warm enough to stand outside.

One area of your job you’re passionate about: I love listening to the problems of our users and providing them with comprehensive and understanding resolutions to their issues. Careful listening is a hallmark of good service and empowers users to be savvy about their support as well.

Other things you do: I serve on the board of City Stay, a youth worker, a teaching artist, an actor, a writer, a director, soccer coach, an improviser, and I love it! If you haven’t seen me in my GiveMN green yet, you’ll see me soon.

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Looking back at 2015’s March Millions—and how matching gifts inspire new levels of generosity

Just last year, GiveMN helped facilitate a $1 million matching gift campaign for more than a hundred nonprofits in southeastern Minnesota. Below, read an excerpt of our blog post from 2015 to learn how this month-long match was met in just four days.

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MarchMillions2In the fall of 2014, the trustees of the Otto Bremer Foundation asked GiveMN to facilitate a creative way for the foundation to be introduced to a new region for responsive grantmaking—southeastern Minnesota. They were interested in making a large matching gift ($1 million!) to area organizations to learn about the causes the community values most.

It was an easy yes for GiveMN because if there’s one failsafe way to ignite generosity, it’s matching gifts. The evidence is all around us, from Buy One Get One promotions at local retailers to Yale/University of Chicago research across a wide swath of charities showing that the presence of a dollar-for-dollar match increases donor response rate by as much as 19%.

GiveMN worked with Lue Her and his colleagues to create Otto Bremer Foundation’s March Millions for Southeastern Minnesota and they selected just over 100 organizations from the region to participate. In addition to the $1 million in matching funds, one lucky donor was selected each day in March to win a $1,000 Bremer Boost prize grant for their organization and a Mega Bremer Boost of $10,000 was awarded at the end of the campaign, randomly drawn from all March Millions donations.

Before the campaign went live, the GiveMN team guessed how much the campaign would generate. Guesses ranged from $358,034 (the amount of money raised on GiveMN.org by organizations in those counties during the entire prior year) to the full $1 million.

MarchMillions4The final result? Donors met the month-long advertised match in just four days. In addition to the $1 million from Otto Bremer Foundation, supporters made more than $1.2 million in gifts to these nonprofits during the month of March.

So why has this campaign been so successful? Here are three key factors that have helped inspire more than 2,100 unique donors to make a donation:

  1. The generous matching gift from Otto Bremer Foundation.$1 million is the largest matching gift to be offered competitively on GiveMN ever! It was first come, first served (or first given, first matched) across all participating organizations and it got the attention of nonprofits, media, and donors. We like to call matching gifts “Minnesota’s BOGO for Good!”
  2. The 102 participating organizations.They got creative about how they promoted March Millions, whether it was right out of the gate in the race for matching dollars or rallying later in the month around winning those Bremer Boost prizes. There was a sense of community and “we all win” among the nonprofits that swooped into action with less than a month to prepare for this campaign.
  3. The media coverage. GiveMN and Otto Bremer Foundation, with the support of FleishmanHillard, put together a small paid media campaign and a successful earned media campaign, raising the visibility of the March Millions effort across the region.

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For more strategies and tips on matching gifts, attend GiveMN’s “Strike a Match: 5 (and a half) steps to get your fundraising cooking and ignite generosity with matching gifts” webinar on Tuesday, April 26.

Give to the Max Day 2015 inspired more generous donors than ever before

As GiveMN concludes our seventh year, having raised more than $140 million for Minnesota nonprofits and schools since our founding, Give to the Max Day is about more than just the dollars raised. It brings awareness to the organizations that strengthen our communities through a collaboration of media partners, corporate supporters, foundation sponsors, and tens of thousands of donors supporting favorite causes and new organizations.

Beyond just the $18 million raised, take a look at the behind-the-scenes data in our #GTMD15 infographic.

infoweb_15

Centennial Middle School honors donor whose $100 gift helped win $20,000 Super-Sized Golden Ticket

On Give to the Max Day 2014, Marjorie Pehl Wood donated $100 to Centennial Middle School in Lino Lakes, giving what she could to help support young people in her community. Later that day, her donation was randomly selected by GiveMN to receive a $20,000 Super-Sized Golden Ticket, sponsored by the Bush Foundation, a shock to both Wood and Centennial Middle School Principal Bob Stevens.

In January, nearly 14 months after winning the Golden Ticket, Centennial Middle School held a grand opening for their new Learning Commons, named in Wood’s honor. North Metro TV was on hand to catch Wood’s reaction when she saw the new space for the first time.

Video courtesy of North Metro TV.

For more photos of this event, view our Facebook album of the morning’s festivities.

Year-end charitable giving could reduce your 2015 taxes

Although Give to the Max Day is one of Minnesota’s most charitable days each year, the last two days of each calendar year are generally the busiest days for online giving nationwide, as people take a look at the opportunity to make the most of their year-end tax situation.

Should you consider “year-end giving?” Any day is a great day to give, but we’ve put together a short Q&A list to help you decide whether to make a gift by the end of 2015…and how a free account on GiveMN.org will keep you from searching for paper receipts!

How could year-end charitable giving help my tax situation?
At the end of the year, tax filers have a clearer picture of their individual tax situations. If you are near the cutoff between tax brackets, charitable gifts may help you lessen your tax burden for when you file in early 2016. Additionally, with the amount saved in owed taxes, you can stretch your dollar farther to help your favorite cause!

Who stands to benefit the most from year-end giving?
Only individuals who itemize their tax deductions will receive the extra benefits of donating before the end of the year.

What type of organizations should I donate to in order to qualify for charitable giving?
All certified 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to receive tax-exempt donations. In addition, most churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are considered de facto eligible to receive tax-exempt donations. All organizations listed on GiveMN.org are eligible.

How may I make a donation?
You may make a cash, check, or credit card donation. Just make sure you receive a receipt. By using GiveMN.org, you can search tens of thousands of Minnesota nonprofits and schools by keyword or location and make an immediate donation using your credit card and receive an immediate email receipt. 

What are the benefits of using GiveMN.org for making my donation?
GiveMN.org is Minnesota’s front door for charitable giving! You’ll find thousands of eligible nonprofits and schools when you search by keyword or location. Upon making your donation, you will receive an immediate email receipt. Better yet, we’ll provide one report detailing all of your charitable giving for the previous year early in 2016. You support your favorite cause, and we handle all of the boring financial stuff!

Simply create a free account on GiveMN.org to track your giving.

What is the deadline for charitable gifts to count for my 2015 taxes?
Donations using credit cards must be transacted on or before December 31, regardless of when the credit card bill is paid. If you decide to mail a check, it must be placed in the mail in 2015.

Are there limits as to how much I can give?
There are some limits to charitable giving tax benefits, but they are pretty high. Read the IRS guidelines. 

What types of records do I need to keep? You will need to keep some sort of documentation issued from the organization displaying the name of the charity, date of contribution, and amount of contribution. This typically comes in a receipt either mailed or emailed to you from the organization. By using GiveMN, you receive an email receipt immediately. Additionally, by creating an account, you can download a report of all of your charitable giving on GiveMN.org near the beginning of 2016.

What about gifting stock?
Gifting appreciated stock is one of the most effective means of tax savings available. According to RBC Wealth Management First Vice President and Financial Advisor Darla Kashian, the benefits are threefold:

  1. The satisfaction of knowing your money is invested in a cause important to you.
  2. Capital gains taxes on the stock are avoided.
  3. You will be eligible to receive an income tax charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the stock at the time of the gift.

Kashian reminds that to qualify for these special tax advantages, the security must have been held for at least one year.

What else should I consider for charitable stock gifting?
Kashian provides more information on other benefits of gifting stock: “While you might think that only people who itemize their taxes will benefit from year-end stock gifting, it’s worthwhile to consider a stock gift if you have a concentrated position in a stock as a way of reducing that concentration.  It is also a way to potentially make a larger gift by thinking of the cost of the stock as the dollar amount of your gift, rather than the current value.  For example, if you’re planning to gift $1000 in cash, you might stock that has a cost basis of $1,000.  But truly, it is the clients, members, and beneficiaries of your cherished charities who will benefit most from your generosity.”

If you would like to make a charitable gift to count as part of your 2015 tax returns, remember to make the gift by midnight on Thursday, Dec. 31! Want to make a quick gift to a Minnesota organization or learn more about worthy causes in your community? Visit GiveMN.org to search by keyword or location, find an organization or school (or more!) you believe in, and make a gift in seconds!

Read more IRS tips for year-end giving.