First-ever “Giving Common Challenge” raises more than $1 million for Massachusetts nonprofits

October 12, 2012

Nearly 7,000 people give online in an unprecedented event

– Hundreds of Massachusetts nonprofits are sharing in $1.075 million in online donations and prizes after an unprecedented 36-hour fundraising challenge sponsored by the Boston Foundation and the Giving Common, an innovative web-based resource designed to provide comprehensive and current information about nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts and making giving quick and easy.

The Giving Common Challenge” ran from 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 10th through 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 11th. During those 36 hours, donors made close to 7,000 gifts to Massachusetts-based nonprofits through the online Giving Common platform, as organizations used social media, traditional media, newsletters and other outreach to connect with their donor bases. While the nonprofits competed for $152,000 in prize grants during the event, they also highlighted the broad impact of Massachusetts nonprofits on issues across the state.

“This event demonstrated without question the special nature of the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts and its supporters,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, which operates the Giving Common. “The Giving Common Challenge highlighted the important work nonprofits do throughout the Commonwealth, and we look forward to the continued growth of this innovative platform as a place for organizations to share their good works and a place for donors to access data and information to research, find and donate to Massachusetts nonprofits.”

Some 547 Massachusetts nonprofits are listed on the Giving Common – more than half received donations during the Challenge, as they reached out to established supporter bases and tapped into new audiences through Facebook and other social media and utilized the hashtag #givingcommon on Twitter. The cooperative efforts of the nonprofits and the extensive use of online and social media highlighted the unprecedented character of the event in the Massachusetts philanthropic community.

The winners:

The Challenge featured $94,000 in prizes for those nonprofits that raised the most money during the event and those that attracted the most donors.

Highest Fundraising:
1st Place: Community Rowing, Inc. - $40,950 ($25,000 prize)
2nd Place: Charles River Watershed Association, Inc. - $30,875 ($12,000 prize)
3rd Place: National Braille Press - $24,415 ($10,000 prize)

Most donors:
1st Place: Phillips Brooks House Association, Inc. ($25,000 prize)
2nd Place: Conservatory Lab Charter School Foundation, Inc. ($12,000 prize)
3rd Place: Cradles to Crayons, Inc. ($10,000 prize)

In addition, 29 organizations received smaller prizes during the event, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Preliminary numbers show that more than 2,500 tweets used the hashtag during the Challenge, reaching well over a million followers, and the event received hundreds more mentions on Facebook. The hashtag #givingcommon was listed among the “trending topics” in Boston on Twitter during the event.

After the Challenge, the Boston Foundation will continue to add profiles of additional nonprofits to the Giving Common database before donors make their year-end giving decisions.

“Congratulations to the nonprofit organizations that have received more than $1 million from the Giving Common Challenge and the donors who made it possible! We hope that the Giving Common will become an integral part of informed giving to all Massachusetts nonprofit organizations for the upcoming giving season and beyond,” said Jennifer Aronson, Senior Director of Nonprofit Effectiveness for the Boston Foundation.


About the Boston Foundation

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of $850 million. In 2011, the Foundation and its donors made almost $78 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $81 million. The Foundation is made up of some 850 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to address the community’s and region’s most pressing challenges.

In 2012, the Boston Foundation and The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) merged, with TPI operating as a distinct unit of the Boston Foundation. Over the last 20 years, TPI has been a leading philanthropic advising organization. Its work to advance the field of strategic philanthropy includes the first-ever conference on the intergenerational transfer of wealth, the Excellence in Family Philanthropy training curriculum and the Center for Global Philanthropy that, in part, supports indigenous philanthropy in countries around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.

About The Giving Common

The Giving Common, an initiative of the Boston Foundation, is an innovative web-based resource designed to provide comprehensive and current information about nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts, and to make informed, online charitable giving easy, quick and meaningful. The Giving Common includes nonprofit information from GuideStar, the nation’s leader in providing information about nonprofits, and asks organizations to fill out enhanced profiles that include mission statements, program offerings, governance and management information and indicators of success at addressing critical issues. Profile information can also be integrated into other sites that use the GuideStar network, saving nonprofits time and effort. Donors can search for organizations by geographic or focus area, and make donations immediately through the Giving Common. To learn more, please visit