by Mary Scott
From my office at The Advocates for Human Rights, I see promising signs of change every day. I see the relief in the eyes of our successful asylum clients, who can now live in safety and freedom from persecution. In pictures, I see the smiling faces of Nepali schoolchildren who, years ago, did not have the opportunity to choose an education over physical labor. I see the reports indicating that new laws overseas are working to protect women from domestic violence. I also see signs of change that may be less obvious. One of those signs is the success of “Give to the Max Day.”
I belong to the generation of Americans that stopped buying stamps. Our checkbooks collect dust in the back of our closets’ highest shelves. I pay my bills online; I send emails or instant messages to my friends and family; I order products online with a credit card. My checkbook is outdated by at least two addresses. For the rest of the 20-somethings of my generation, and likely the generations to follow, charitable giving will not mean sending a check in the mail.
In 2009, GiveMN hosted the first ever “Give to the Max Day,” a virtual fundraising event to benefit small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Minnesota. While users can give to their favorite organizations at any time using GiveMN, “Give to the Max Day” aims to raise as much money as possible in a 24-hour period. So, since 2009, one day every year, Minnesotans get online and give, and they turn out in great numbers. Last year, more than 47,000 donors raised over $13 million for Minnesota nonprofits.
As my peers in this generation, our children, and the generations to follow eventually become the new leaders of the philanthropic community, charitable giving will change. The success of “Give to the Max Day” is a promising sign that even as it changes, charitable giving will stay strong.
But giving online is more than just the “next big thing” in charitable giving. For small nonprofit organizations like The Advocates, online fundraisers like “Give to the Max Day” are a much-needed method of effective, low-cost outreach than can both garner support and raise awareness about our work. The cost of each dollar raised online is minimal compared to the costs of grant writing and direct mail. Although it may seem like an insignificant change, the amount saved per dollar by fundraising online means that The Advocates can put more of our resources directly into our work to promote and protect human rights. More resources means more positive change that brings us closer to The Advocates’ vision of a world in which every individual lives with dignity, freedom, justice, and peace.
So, please join me and thousands of others on “Give to the Max Day”, and take part in the future of charitable giving.
Mary Scott is the Development & Communications Assistant at The Advocates for Human Rights.