This Year’s Most Creative ‘Give To The Max Day’ Campaigns

It’s a good day to be a Minnesotan.

The Great Minnesota Give Together

Give to the Max Day…keeping Minnesota nice since 2009.

Most Minnesotans know by the number of emails flooding their inboxes that yesterday was Give to the Max Day. And that’s exactly what happened — people gave to the max. More than 50,000 donors supported their favorite nonprofits and schools, donating a draw-dropping, record-smashing $16.3 million.

While it’s a fun and inspiring day that reminds everyone about the importance of philanthropy, my marketing mind can’t help but think, “Man, more than 4,000 nonprofits all asking for donations on one day. Ouch.” When you have that much noise in a space, it’s difficult to stand out — unless you get creative.

And that’s exactly what’s happening. More and more nonprofits are bringing a creative flare to their GTMD campaigns and it couldn’t be more welcomed.

I always have fun trolling the GTMD campaigns and this year I picked out five of my favorite, most creative, most refreshing strategies.

And remember, I’m only one person. I’m not capable of seeing everything on the internet and I only have so much space in my little blog post, so if you saw an innovative campaign yesterday, please (please!), let me know why you liked it in the comments.

College Possible
Never heard of a “Thank-You-Mob” before? Yeah, me neither — until yesterday. College Possible sent flash mobs of volunteers to surprise and thank donors at work, home, etc. after making a contribution. Talk about taking donor stewardship to a new level. Here’s a photo of my friend Lars Leafblad, who was surprised at work yesterday by a College Possible “Thank-You-Mob” after he made a donation to the organization.

College Possible's Thank You Mob


Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Not all missions are easy to instantly connect with (like when you see a cute kitten from an animal shelter nonprofit), but that doesn’t mean you can’t exploit cute kittens. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (and trust me with a name like that you better get a little creative to stand out) communicated the importance of their mission through a medium all can understand: the cat video. Inspired by the winning video from this summer’s Internet Cat Video Film Festival, “Henri 2: Paw de Deux,” here is IATP’s  “Chiko, Le Chat Politique.”


Children’s Theater Company
GTMD lasts for 24 hours. So how do you keep an audience engaged and sustain a fundraising stream for 24 hours? How about by offering one-of-a-kind prizes each hour to a donor who contributed during the time period? Not only did the Children’s Theater Company come up with 24 interesting and unique prizes to reward and motivate their donors, but they also did a great job of showing their GTMD story through creative photos on their Facebook page.

Children's Theater Company


Rainbow Rumpus
While GTMD is focused in Minnesota, a lot of the nonprofits participating serve national audiences. Rainbow Rumpus caught my eye for their intentional efforts to receive gifts from across the country with a goal to get folks from all fifty states to support their work. They updated an interactive map hourly showing the national gifts rolling in.

Rainbow Rumpus' Giving Map


Springboard for the Arts
Known for having fun and being creative, it’s not surprising Springboard would make this list. However, one thing they did this year that I loved is not only did they have fun with GTMD, but they also brought their programs to the forefront (sometimes it’s tricky to do both and you get lost in the fun). Introducing Power Hours, Springboard highlighted four different program areas for four different times of the day—each with matching grants.

Springboard for the Arts Power Hour


Skewed Visions (honorable mention)
You know the way to a lady’s heart? Meme parodies. Thanks Skewed Visions for keeping me entertained throughout the day with countless, hilarious GTMD inspired memes.

Skewed Visions on Give to the Max Day

Thanks to all who participated and gave during the “Great Minnesota Give Together.” And don’t worry, if you’re feeling left out, there’s always GTMD13.