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Give to the Max Day: How SocialNicole turned a crazy idea into crazy inspiration


In three short years, Give to the Max Day has become a Minnesota tradition. It is an amazing day of camaraderie and community as people from around Minnesota, the country, and even the world come together to support nonprofits that call Minnesota home. Because of the success of Give to the Max Day, it has also become more challenging each year for nonprofits to stand out and be noticed. This can be especially true for small nonprofits with tight budgets and smaller donor bases. But that does not mean a small nonprofit can’t make a big splash on this day – it just takes a bit of creativity and a willingness to step outside the box.

The Säjai Foundation & SocialNicole- 30 miles and a mission

Just seven weeks ago the Säjai Foundation team wrapped up their Amazing Walk! event held in North Mississippi Regional Park. More than 100 families participated in walking the 5K course with fun activity stops along the way – square dancing, yoga, bird watching – to raise money for prevention of childhood obesity. As the team breathed a sigh of relief for having pulled off such a successful first-year event, SocialNicole and Säjai  began to brainstorm our next big idea to draw attention to childhood obesity and Säjai’s work in preventive education for our youth and their families. Though a lot of nonprofits organize a walk, run or bike ride as a fundraiser, Säjai’s Amazing Walk! so closely tied to this nonprofit’s mission – ending childhood obesity. “Think about it, we walk to end obesity!” said Säjai president Melissa Hanson.

Not Every ‘Crazy’ Idea is a Dud

As we prepared to tackle Give to the Max Day we began talking out loud about just that – walking to end obesity. Someone threw out the crazy idea: “How about Melissa walks from her house to the Mall of America, on Give to the Max Day?” That crazy idea became not just a crazy idea. It became the theme of Säjai’s Give to the Max Day event. Säjai president Melissa Hanson is walking, hopefully biking and (cross our fingers) riding in an escort van the 30 miles from her home in Maple Grove to the Mall of America, rain or shine, sleet or snow. And she is relying on the power of Give to the Max Day to get her there.

The social media buzz to get here there

How did we convince her to test her physical strength and actually walk 30 miles on Wednesday, November 16? We drafted a plan. Even crazy ideas need a plan. SocialNicole outlined for the Säjai team the steps to generate much needed buzz on Give to the Max Day, motivate Säjai donors as well as the nonprofit’s network of peers, programming partners, and even participants, and make Melissa’s walk worth it.

Key touch points of this Give to the Max Day plan:

  • By crafting a strong overarching message, and leveraging the social media tools that have made Give to the Max Day successful, Säjai is hoping to raise the money to hook their matching donor for gifts up to $10,000.
  • Giving levels were designed to incentivize donors. For example, every $1,000 raised that day allows a volunteer to walk in Melissa’s place for a mile.
  • A customized email outreach was put into place for targeted donors to secure large gifts throughout the day on November 16.
  • Board members volunteered to phone a list of targeted donors to confirm their commitments for Give to the Max Day.
  • Social messaging examples were crafted for Säjai’s Facebook and Twitter followers, allowing them to easily re-post and multiply their giving reach.
  • Media outreach included customized community alerts and ongoing communications with local media outlets.

As Melissa ties up her shoes and walks 30 miles on Give to the Max Day, we at SocialNicole feel privileged to help her meet her goal – raising money and awareness for the important issue of childehood obesity.

Find out how one Amazing Walk translates into success on Give to the Max Day

Follow Melissa on Give to the Max Day on Twitter @Sajaifoundation, and on Facebook. And watch for the #AmazingWalk hashtag throughout the day. Melissa will be on the Uptake Livestream on Give to the Max Day for a live interview right after her walk at 5:05 pm – tune in! For more tips, tactics and tools of the trade to help your nonprofit out during Give to the Max Day, join SocialNicole for #NPtalk on Twitter, Wednesday Nov. 16 at 2pmCST- right in time for the special day!  

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