BY JAKE BLUMBERG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT GIVEMN
The first two weeks of a new job are always about learning—where the coffee pot is, who the best resource in the office is for a lunch recommendation…and in my most recent experience, what raising over $18 million from more than 62,000 donors in 24 hours looks like.
My eighth day as the executive director of GiveMN was Give to the Max Day 2015 (well, actually my eighth and ninth days, as I was awake for nearly 48 hours straight.) As a fundraiser for multiple organizations here in Minnesota previously, I knew what Give to the Max Day looked like as a participant. Seeing it from the inside as more than 5,600 organizations processed gifts from generous donors was a different experience entirely.
Here are the moments I’ll remember most looking back on #GTMD15:
- As a fundraiser, there may be nothing more intoxicating than watching donations roll in online; it is the type of immediate gratification many of us in our sector rarely get to have. Watching more than 127,000 donations roll in over 24 hours at an average of more than one per second through GiveMN.org? It was basically the fundraising equivalent of the new Star Wars movie debuting! (OK, Star Wars fans, calm down. I know that sounds like blasphemy—but it really was AMAZING!)
- Organizations in every county in Minnesota received gifts during #GTMD15—and donors from every county in Minnesota, every state in the United States, and dozens of countries supported nonprofits and schools in Minnesota. If I had ever wondered what a group hug from more than 62,000 folks might feel like—this was it!
- Margaret Mead knew what she was talking about when she encouraged us to “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…” Watching the small but mighty GiveMN team (there are four of us) along with our technology and community partners work directly with thousands of nonprofits, schools and donors leading up to #GTMD15 and throughout the day, I couldn’t have been more impressed and proud to see the incredible impact our community made together during Minnesota’s giving holiday.
Those takeaways, among many others, are already informing our direction as an organization as we look to 2016 and beyond. I am humbled by the opportunity we have in front of us. GiveMN has already helped to make an incredible impact across the state and nation, helping to generate more than $140 million in donations for organizations since our founding in 2009, while also leading a national evolution of what online giving looks like.
My predecessors Dana Nelson—our founding executive director—as well as Interim Executive Director Andy Goldman-Gray, have partnered with members of our board of directors, staff and funders to build an organization that has connections with thousands of organizations and hundreds of thousands of donors. I couldn’t be more grateful for the work that has been done to build GiveMN up to this point. Now, we have a chance to write the next chapter of philanthropic innovation for Minnesota—an opportunity that gets me almost as excited as watching all those gifts pour in on Give to the Max Day!
What will that future look like? One way or another, it will include increased collaboration with our nonprofit and school partners, robust resources for our donors, and innovative ideas to ignite generosity in new and different ways throughout the state. Look to this space, as well as our other communication channels, for more details in 2016—and if you have an idea, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org so you can be part of the dialogue.
Thanks for all you do for Minnesota, and stay tuned—we can’t wait to partner with you in making our communities a better place!