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Thursday’s ‘Give to the Max Day’ means online blitz of giving for Minnesota philanthropies

Schedule your gifts today at GiveMN

Thousands of local nonprofits are eagerly looking forward to Thursday — the sixth annual “Give to the Max Day” — often their biggest single day for donations.

Donors can search online at the GiveMN site for a participating nonprofit and easily donate on the secure site.

A constantly updated “leader board” gives running totals for donations in various categories. This contributes to the festive air of the event (and likely reduces productivity in some offices).

Top collecting organizations are also eligible for extra prizes. And random drawings will award “golden tickets” to participating nonprofits throughout the day, worth $2,000-$20,000 in added funds. The Bush Foundation is sponsoring those tickets.

The site says that more than $6.7 million in matching grants are available this year to organizations that secured those matches, says Dana Nelson, executive director of GiveMN, which runs the 24-hour online giving event.

Last year, more than $17 million was raised for about 4,500 nonprofits last year. A software glitch, though, frustrated donors and nonprofits, and this spring GiveMN announced a switch of technology vendors.

The revised site was up and running in July, with training provided to nonprofits, Nelson said. Users, she said, will find it fast and easy to use.

Nelson says the day’s goal this year is broad (and vague): “We’re raising millions for thousands of organizations,” she said.

New this year is a cooperative effort with Metro Transit: random transit riders wearing green can win donations to a cause of their choice. And there’s a downloadable transit pass, good for one ride on Thursday.

MinnPost is one of the nonprofits that seeks donations through the site. And the St. Paul Winter Carnival Vulcans Community Charities, hopes to raise $30,000 to restore its 1932 fire truck that transports group members to and from Winter Carnival events.

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