Last year’s Give at Home MN fundraiser kicked off soon after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donors gave over $5 million to help Minnesota nonprofits and schools weather the storm of uncertain times.
With brighter times on the horizon, GiveMN is partnering with Minnesota donors to look toward the future with SpringForwardMN. Here at Charities Review Council, we know how valuable and transformative the relationships between donors and nonprofits are. Your participation in the eleven day giving event (May 1-11) will provide the steady ground for Minnesota nonprofits and schools to step confidently into the next season.
Smart Givers, we’re so excited to see how you engage with the causes that inspire you during SpringForwardMN. To help you prepare for this fundraising event with confidence, we’ve assembled a few giving tips to keep in mind, with advice on putting them to use during this event:
Give within your means.
Decide how much of your annual budget you can donate and give accordingly. With gifts from individuals accounting for almost 80% of all donations, whether you give $5 or $500, your gift makes a difference. If you’re participating in SpringForwardMN, making a budget before the giving event kicks off can help you better allocate your dollars.
GiveMN will be offering bonus grants throughout the giving event with over 150 total opportunities to win part of the prize pool. Each gift made online through a nonprofit’s GiveMN profile counts as an entry for the organization to win a bonus grant. To boost an organization’s chance of taking home a piece of the prize pool, consider splitting up one gift across multiple days. Learn more about the available bonus grants on GiveMN’s website.
When in doubt, ask.
Nonprofits want to answer your questions (so do we!) You may want to ask: Are they changing their policies to account for a year of dramatic change? How can I be the strongest partner and advocate this year? How do the board and staff reflect and connect with the community they’re serving? Our Accountability Standards® are an ideal guide for questions. You can also contact the Council at 651-224-7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to talk through any giving questions with you!
Interested in finding a new organization to support? GiveMN has created specific search functions to help donors find organizations meeting crucial needs, from organizations supporting frontline workers to those building a more just and equitable state. Find more information about these focus areas on GiveMN’s website.
As a donor, you have a right to know how an organization handles and spends funds. Don’t be afraid to dig deep into those IRS 990’s, annual reports, or audited financial statements. You can find these on most organizations’ websites.
For a quick point of reference to give with confidence, check out our list of reviewed nonprofits on our website at SmartGivers.org/organizations. You can also keep an eye out for the Meets Standards® seal (pictured here) on nonprofit websites and social media. This visual marker indicates that an organization has completed our review process and met all 25 Accountability Standards, proving a commitment to upholding transparency and excellence.
Acknowledge hard work.
Everyone appreciates affirmation. When you see that an organization achieved a milestone, congratulate them. A quick note from you helps a nonprofit know what is resonating with donors. Even a brief email or phone call can forge a stronger relationship between you and the nonprofit you support.
Follow on social media.
Nonprofit Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn sites can help you understand how your donation is making a difference in people’s lives. These platforms are often the most frequently updated with announcements about organizational changes, including new board members, policy implementation, employment opportunities. Most organizations will also be sharing their SpringForwardMN strategy on social media, for example. Be sure to follow in advance so you don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments or have your donation matched!
Spread the word.
Did an organization make a difference in your life over the last year? Has their commitment to their community inspired you, especially during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic? Share it! Here again, social media is the way much of the world learns about an organization’s work. If you like it, like it…or retweet it. Increasing visibility can be as important a form of support as money. For the SpringForwardMN giving event specifically, use the hashtag #SpringForwardMN to join in the fun on social media.
Opt out if you need to — stay in touch how you want to.
Here’s an opportunity to be a Smart Giver beyond the eleven-day giving event. If you’re getting overwhelmed by solicitation emails and letters, it’s fine to opt-out. Alternatively, consider how you’d like to receive information from nonprofits you support. Do you prefer a phone call or occasional email updates? Take the time to consider your contact preferences. You’ll be more engaged connecting with an organization in a way that feels right for you.
Who’s excited to get started? Head over to SmartGivers.org/organizations or pull out your Spring 2021 Smart Giver Newsletter. When you’re ready to join in the fun, go to GiveMN and search for the causes and organizations that are meaningful to you.
You can find the Council’s GiveMN profile at givemn.org/organization/Charitiesreviewcouncil. We’ll also be participating on social media using the hashtags #SpringForwardMN and #SmartGiving across Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram.