Give to the Max Day is Thursday. Here are 11 things to know on its 15th anniversary

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It was 2009: Many of us were still transitioning from flip phones to smartphones, from DVDs to streaming, from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

In that year of shifting habits, on the third Thursday in November, Minnesotans were asked to take part in an online giving campaign to help raise money for nonprofits.

Give to the Max Day was supposed to be a one-time event, but it went over in such a big way — $14 million was raised that year — that it became an annual “giving holiday” that will mark its 15th anniversary on Thursday.

But, in the face of tough economic conditions and a post-pandemic dip in charitable giving nationally, will Minnesotans be able or willing to give to the max in 2023?

We’ll know by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.

Ahead of the 15th annual event, here are 11 things to know:

1. It began with a question.

“What if giving was easier and more fun?”

That was the question that launched GiveMN in 2009, a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations.

“Give to the Max Day” was organized to generate excitement for that launch.

It became more than a one-time promotion after $14 million was raised in 24 hours.

“The campaign exceeded everyone’s expectations and became an annual celebration,” says Jenna Ray, GiveMN’s deputy executive director, community impact.

“It’s become this really lovely tradition.”

2. What exactly is Give to the Max?

Give to the Max is an annual fundraising campaign for thousands of nonprofits and schools across Minnesota.

(K-12 public schools were added to the ranks of nonprofits in 2012.)

3. How can people find a nonprofit or school they’d like to support?

People can search for nonprofits and schools by name, category, location and more at

Donors can now also browse organizations who say they primarily serve LGBTQ+ communities or search for organizations led by or primarily serving Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.

4. Why is Give to the Max Day held in November?

Give to the Max Day typically takes place on the Thursday before Thanksgiving as a kick off to the holiday giving season.

5. What time does Give to the Max Day start?

Early giving kicked off on Nov. 1, but most of the donations pour in on Thursday, when Give to the Max Day 2023 begins at 12:00 a.m. and ends at 11:59 p.m.

Find online and in-person events at

6. What is a Golden Ticket?

Golden Tickets are random-chance drawings, which provide prize grants for participating nonprofits and schools.

Donations are drawn at random from different intervals and GiveMN adds $500, $1,000 and even $10,000 to the total.

The prizes are possible, in part, due to the support of the Bush Foundation.

Donors can also search for nonprofits or schools that will receive matching donations.

7. A look at how donations help

Golden Tickets were also awarded during early giving.

In the east metro, the winners of the early $500 tickets include Wildflyer Coffee, Como Friends, and Animal Ark, an animal-welfare organization with a no-kill shelter in Hastings.

The extra money is needed more than ever at Animal Ark, which has set a fundraising goal of $40,000. This is one of only two fundraisers it holds annually.

“It’s helpful, it’s absolutely helpful,” says Lorraine Royal, Animal Ark’s executive manager. “The money we receive is used to shelter animals, toward food, medical costs.”

Inflation is making their work more challenging.

“Everything has gotten more expensive,” Royal says. “Pet food is more expensive than it has ever been, vet costs feel like they’ve doubled and bills in general are higher than they were two years ago.”

As an example, Royal says, the shelter recently spent $1,700 for emergency veterinary services for Hendrix, a foster kitten. Other animals, like a 5-year-old dog named Diesel, have everyday expenses at the shelter, where he has been waiting a long time to be adopted.

“He’s been with us for two years, and we really don’t know why,” Royal says. “He’s a stunning black Lab mix.”

Find out more about Diesel and Animal Ark at

8. How much money has been raised since 2009?

Over the last 14 years, $289.6 million has been donated to more than 14,000 nonprofits and schools.

9. How much money was raised in 2022?

In 2022, donations given during Give to the Max raised $34 million for 6,439 nonprofits and schools.

10. Are there any hidden costs for nonprofits or donors?

“There is no subscription cost for organizations to use and no registration fee to take part in Give to the Max Day each year,” explained Tom Zimmerman, a GiveMN spokesperson, in an email. “This is important to us to allow all Minnesota organizations access to use our platform and take part in the day.

“There is a 6.9% fee assessed on gifts made through that covers costs assessed by credit card companies, keeps our platform free for Minnesota organizations and helps sustain GiveMN programming, as we are a small, local nonprofit, too.

“Donors are given the option to pitch in a bit more to cover the processing fee on behalf of the causes they support — 93% of donors do so, ensuring that 100% of their intended donation goes to the cause they support.”

11. What happens after Nov. 16?

GiveMN provides a giving website available year-round to link people with nonprofits and schools.

Since almost all nonprofits raise money online these days compared to 2009, GiveMN now also offers other types of assistance to organizations such as fundraising strategy and infrastructure (info at

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