During the past few days I've sensed some confusion about why I've paid so much attention to the launch of GiveMN and "Give to the Max Day." Some people have assumed that their must be a connection to the fact that I work for MPR, and my reporting reflects MPR's views on the new website and its aim to streamline charitable giving.
That's simply not the case. Here's what I wrote in a comment to yesterday's post:
For me, at the heart of my reporting and my questions, is the belief that any new endeavor that affects so many people and involves so much money must be looked at closely and thoroughly. That remains true whether it's a for-profit or a non-profit organization.
GiveMN Executive Director Dana Nelson and Razoo CEO Sebastian Traeger both said that this is a bold experiment, something which has never been attempted at this scale. If this really does mark a significant shift in how non-profits will receive their donations in the years to come, then we owe it to those non-profits and their donors to make sure it's the right tool for the job.
Yes, MPR is a non-profit that also conducts fund drives. It also participated in Give to the Max Day, and placed 8th amongst all the organizations in terms of the number of donations it received. The final numbers are out, and while I'll do more in-depth analysis of how organizations did later today, I want to at least give you MPR's numbers right away:
Number of contributions to MPR: 422
Amount contributed to MPR through GiveMN: $54,794
Amount eligible for the match*: $52,294
Total match given to MPR: $2,113.50
*The "match" from GiveMN ended up being four cents on the dollar. This is because only the first $2,500 of any one donation was counted toward the match. E.g. if you gave $3,500 to the Animal Humane Society, only $2,500 of it would be matched. At four cents on the dollar your contribution would have raised the Animal Humane Society an additional $100.
Any questions? Feel free to ask them.
I run a development office for a sophisticated organization. The website givemn.org populated our a page for our organization, without our knowing. Then accepted gifts on our behalf.
To say that it was frustrating is an understatement. Our organization had no desire to participate in this effort. Frankly we have a strategy to visit with our donors face to face and ask them for gifts. Those gifts are typically much higher than the ones given online. So to say we actually lost revenue is accurate.
Additionally, I am unsure how an organization can legally accept gifts on behalf of another organization....without its permission. It seems totally illegal to me.
It is similar to me going to the bank and asking for your paycheck and telling the bank that I have your best interests in mind.
When we solicit online donations we direct donors to our website. I do hope that in the future the people of givemn.org allow non-profits to "opt in" because the way this was set up you in fact have to "opt out".