Give to the Max Day 2017 is set for Thursday, November 16!

Give to the Max Day is set for Thursday, November 16, 2017! It will be very similar to previous years as we work to add to the $125+ million raised through the first eight giving days. From GiveMN, you can expect prizes, events and media to raise the profile of Minnesota nonprofits and schools. And we can’t wait to see the creative campaigns organizations plan to celebrate the generosity of Minnesotans! We will announce more specifics on this page as the year goes along.

What happened on Give to the Max Day 2016?

Give to the Max Day 2016 was a day of great success and significant challenges. When the clock struck midnight, nearly 6,000 nonprofits and schools raised $20.1 million, a record-breaking day for Minnesota. And although donors were able to give through GiveMN.org the entire day, technical issues forced GiveMN to switch to a simplified backup donation page for a quarter of the day, which took away many features such as donation reports, management of peer-to-peer fundraising pages, the option for donors to cover the processing fee, and elements like goal and matching gift thermometers.

The challenges caused by these technical issues didn’t meet our users’ expectations, and they did not meet ours.

What were the actual technical issues?

In the months since GTMD16, we have been in constant contact with our technology provider Kimbia, who builds and maintains all of the technical aspects of our fundraising platform. Their team provided GiveMN with an in-depth accounting of the technical issues that forced us to switch to a simplified backup donation page to continue processing donations during the day, summarized below:

Three errors took place concurrently to cause our issues. 

  1. Queries that run when donors attempt to log into their accounts were pulling too much data, and when that scaled with the amount of donors logging in simultaneously on GTMD16, donor accounts suffered a major slowdown. 
  2. Additionally, a routine Javascript call in the header of each GiveMN.org page was written in such a way that caused it to be exponentially more taxing on the system when volume increased on the giving day. 
  3. Finally, because of the two errors above, the backup caching service used to reduce the level of strain on the system did not perform as intended. Although these issues had no impact on the payment processing platform itself, they caused GiveMN.org to load so slowly that users could not actually reach the donation forms on our main site.

GiveMN and Kimbia staff noticed the issues leading to slow loading times and made the decision to switch to the backup site within minutes to ensure our core functionality of processing donations was preserved for our users. Although this took away many of the extra features some organizations and donors wanted to use, it ensured we would be able to keep processing donations throughout the day. In fact, several million dollars was raised while the backup site was online.

Kimbia identified the sources of the problems in the following hours and worked to fix and test our full site as quickly as possible. Once the switch back to our full site took place around 3:20 p.m., GiveMN.org handled higher levels of traffic and giving for the remaining nine hours of Give to the Max Day. GiveMN and Kimbia are confident the issues have been fixed, and will not cause issues for our users in the future.

What steps has GiveMN taken thus far?

On Give to the Max Day, we announced our commitment to cover the full processing fee for the time donors were unable to do so on their own, and we covered the 6.9% processing fee from donations between 8:27:00 am CST and 3:20:37 pm CST on GTMD16.

Our board and staff has also been in consistent communication with Kimbia to learn more about what caused the technical problems and evaluate our future relationship with them as a technology provider. Kimbia has accepted full responsibility for the technical issues and after many days of conversations over the past few months, GiveMN has decided to partner with Kimbia again in 2017 while we also listen to our users and partners to plot the best possible future for our community related to Give to the Max Day and GiveMN.org.

Why not just switch technology providers?

GiveMN board and staff fully considered all options for 2017, including changing technology platforms, but decided not to do so immediately as we want to better understand the needs of our users, both who use GiveMN.org for GTMD and year-round, and take your needs and guidance into consideration before making any major decisions on our platform. We are confident in Kimbia as our technology partner for GTMD17, and after a successful 2015 without technical issues, and a record-breaking 2016, we know 2017 has great potential for thousands of nonprofits to raise millions of dollars as part of our state’s annual giving holiday.

What is the future of Give to the Max Day and GiveMN.org?

When we surveyed organizations about their recommendations for the future of Give to the Max Day in December 2016—and received responses from nearly 800 organizations—we heard a few messages loud and clear.

First, Give to the Max Day is an integral part of the Minnesota nonprofit sector, our state’s culture of giving, and organizations’ fundraising strategies: 93% of respondents want Give to the Max Day to continue, and 60% believe their fundraising would decrease annually without Give to the Max Day.

With that, we also heard another resounding message: our users rely on GiveMN.org and Give to the Max Day—so it needs to work well on the big day, a sentiment we couldn’t agree more with. More than half of respondents want it to remain the same single-platform giving day model we have presented since 2009, but with repaired and reliable technology.  With our technology partner Kimbia, we are committed to delivering this experience for our users in 2017.

We also heard another clear theme in our survey results, as well as numerous conversations and email dialogues after GTMD16—we have a lot to learn from our community about how we can be the best partner possible for the future. Thus, we are going to be asking for a lot of feedback in 2017, and using this year to move into our 10th anniversary as the best partner we can be for our community in 2018 and beyond.

We want to know more about the organizations who benefit most from a giving day to learn about what our community of users want and need the most from us as we head into our tenth year. We also want to learn more about the needs of organizations who use GiveMN.org for fundraising, whether on Give to the Max Day alone or year-round as a sole payment processor. We will be researching with groups of donors and organizations to learn how we can best serve the sector with our platform and as a host to Minnesota’s giving day, with plans to implement what we learned in 2018 as a long-term solution. Please stay tuned for opportunities to share your thoughts and opinions throughout 2017!

© 2017 GiveMN | A registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.