Challenges

     Yesterday was a big day for nonprofits across Minnesota; it was Give to the Max Day. This is the annual fundraising day many nonprofits and schools across Minnesota use to raise money. Right from the start the website, which always seems to have some issues, had major issues and crashed. It was down for hours, leaving nonprofits scrambling to keep their supporters updated. I personally had people emailing or texting me wanting to know if their donation went through. Unfortunately, I couldn’t immediately confirm that, because I couldn’t see our page either or access our donation report. Eventually the problem was fixed and the page functioned fairly well for the rest of the day, but not before many nonprofits lost valuable hours for fundraising. People really want to support the causes they believe in; most of the nonprofits on the site are smaller ones that really rely on this day, including mine.

     The day was made even more frustrating for me because I did not have access to my computer for most of the day. As always, I was at the shelter caring for the birds. I used to have internet at the rescue and bring a laptop so I could work there, but I lost two computers that way. One moment of inattention and my entire keyboard is destroyed. And there really isn’t time to do work that isn’t related to caring for the birds anyway, at least not work that requires uninterrupted thinking. I do leave earlier on Thursday, around 3:00,  but I was not able to go directly home and deal with the problem. I receive a weekly allergy shot, which allows me to spend as much time as I do around the birds. The shot isn’t for bird dander exactly, but to keep my lungs functioning well enough so that I can be there. I have so many allergies that without allergy shots my lungs can’t handle the bird dander and all the outdoor allergens. Several years ago I became extremely ill from being around such a dusty environment, and lost a lot of lung function from permanent scarring. Today my lung function isn’t great, but good enough for me to live a normal life. I won’t be running any marathons, but I can exercise at a comfortable pace and as long as I get my shot, avoid all the foods I am allergic to (allergy shots only help with environmental allergens), and exercise regularly I do just fine.

     After an allergy shot there is a  thirty minute wait, so I didn’t get home until around 4:30. By then the website was back up, but there was a feeling of frustration from many who look forward to supporting their favorite causes. There were questions from donors over whether the backup site was secure, and confusion on how to find matching grants or even the causes they wanted to support. There is no doubt that Minnesotans give and give generously, so there is always a huge amount of traffic on the GiveMN site on Give to the Max Day, but in my non technical opinion they know this and should be ready for it. I am extremely grateful for all the support my nonprofit did receive, but we didn’t raise as much as last year and so we will have to make up the difference by having better than average events for the remainder of our drive. Our next fundraiser is the holiday boutique on November 26th, and I will be working every day finishing up all my products. Our overall fundraising goal is 20,000; yesterday between matching grants and donations we raised just under half of that. It is very gratifying to have the support we do, and myself and the other board members and volunteers will continue to work hard to raise enough money to keep the rescue going.

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