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Minnesota gears up to Give to the Max on Thursday

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It's a marathon of online charitable giving, and thousands of nonprofits are doing their last bit of training to prepare for it.

MinnPost reports that thousands of Minnesota nonprofits and schools will ask for donations in Thursday's fifth annual Give to the Max Day. Last year, 53,000 people gave $16.3 million during the 24-hour period. The day includes incentives and matching grants to goose donations, with $200,000 in prizes given to organizations during the day, including two $10,000 grants given randomly to donors' favorite organizations.

Donors can go to the GiveMn website to find their favorite charity, or can search the site by name, purpose and geography to browse organizations that might appeal to them.

 "If you don’t know who exactly to give to, or want to do some impulse giving or just shop for a cause, the search function works great," said Dana Nelson, executive director of GiveMn.

The Pioneer Press has a story on how Minnesota public schools will hustle for online donations. This is the second year public schools are eligible to participate in Give To The Max day. Last year, about 250 public schools raised $410,000 in the 24-hour blitz.

Private and charters schools also participate. With $287,000 in Give to the Max Day donations, St. Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall was among the most successful fundraisers last year.

Some parents and educators regard online fundraising as preferable to asking families to push wrapping paper or stage bake sales.

The day also highlights a disparity between schools. At schools with a high percentage of students who qualify for free or discounted lunch, parents may lack the time, money, credit cards and Internet access needed to participate. This year, GiveMN and the St. Paul district are assisting five high-poverty schools, with spruced up GiveMN sites and matching grants to entice donors.

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