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In a giving mood? Today's your day

It probably isn't marked on your calendar, but today is Minnesota's second Give to the Max Day, a Web-based effort to encourage donors to contribute to any of thousands of nonprofit groups, programs and events.

Last year's event raised more than $14 million for 3,434 Minnesota nonprofits.

"This is about the collective good people can do," said Dana Nelson, executive director of GiveMN, which sponsors Give to the Max Day.

The Minnesota Community Foundation created GiveMN as a way to reach donors through changing technology. As part of its launch, GiveMN held its first Give to the Max Day last November. More than 38,000 donors logged onto the site to donate during the 24-hour event.

"The response was overwhelming, Nelson said. "People wanted to make it an annual event."

Last year's event raised more than $38,000 for the Duluth-based Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.

"That's enough for 190,000 meals that we can rescue and distribute," food bank executive director Shaye Moris said.

"I think it's a great opportunity to inspire Minnesotans to give," she said. "It worked for us last year. People were very excited about being part of this movement on one day."

The food bank ranked ninth in the state for the number of contributors during the first Give to the Max Day. Moris hopes to improve that to second or third this year. To that end, the group is sending

e-mail reminders to past donors and others.

More than bragging rights are on the line. GiveMN is offering several incentives this year to encourage nonprofit and donor participation in Give to the Max Day.

The two Twin Cities and the two non-metro nonprofits that attract the largest number of donors will share in $60,000. Once every hour today, a randomly chosen individual donor's charity will receive an additional $1,000.

And many nonprofits have secured grants that will match contributions received today. For example, every dollar (up to a total of $10,000) donated to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank will be matched by the Lahti Family Charitable Foundation.

"We're encouraging people to give because we have the $10,000 match," Moris said.

Second Harvest is not alone in reaching out to potential donors.

Want to donate, but can't get to a computer today? Don't worry, Nelson said.

"You can give any day on," she said.