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The Giving Common: Sunset FAQ

The Giving Common logo
The original Giving Common logo

Thank you for your interest in the Giving Common. After eight years as an initiative of the Boston Foundation, the decision has been made to sunset the initiative. The GivingCommon.org website will close on August 31, 2019.

This blogpost provides information about the decision to sunset the Initiative, as well as a form to provide feedback, questions and reactions. 

We have also prepared some answers to Frequently Asked Questions below. Please read through them for information on your options for saving your data and information on how we are working with partners and other organizations to ensure a smooth transition.

If you have questions that the FAQ doesn't answer, please email Leigh Handschuh, Manager, Programs Data and Insight. We are happy to help.

And to continue to remain in touch with the Boston Foundation and learn about nonprofit opportunities, please subscribe to the bi-monthly Nonprofit Update e-newsletter.

Frequently Asked Questions

When GivingCommon.org closes on August 31, 2019, what will happen to the content in my nonprofit’s Giving Common profile (i.e., narrative sections, files, donation records, etc.)?

While this information will no longer be accessible after August 31, 2019, nonprofits are able to retrieve it before that day, through a few options bulleted below. We are happy to help. For assistance and questions about the options, please email Leigh Handschuh, Manager, Programs Data and Insight.

  • Nonprofits can request to migrate (transfer) their current Giving Common profile information to their GuideStar.org profile in a one-time transfer, which will take place on August 13. To opt in to this August 13 transfer, please fill out this form by August 12.

    Please note that this transfer will overwrite existing content within your organization’s GuideStar profile. As a result, we recommend opting into this transfer only if your Giving Common profile has been updated more recently than your GuideStar profile.
    • Important Note for Fiscally Sponsored Nonprofits: Unfortunately, because GuideStar.org does not yet accommodate profiles for organizations without their own EIN/tax status, fiscally sponsored organizations and chapters/divisions of larger nonprofits (without their own EIN) are not eligible to participate in the transfer. 
  • Nonprofits may download a full PDF of their profile narrative content. To do so, please visit your nonprofit’s profile on GivingCommon.org and click the “Full” hyperlink under the incorporation date to pull up the PDF. For nonprofits with profiles that are not yet public on GivingCommon.org, you can log in to your profile, click “Update Profile,” click the “Preview” button and then from the profile preview pull up the PDF by clicking the “Full” hyperlink under the incorporation date.
  • Should you wish to retrieve any of the files uploaded to your profile, such as 990s, audits, c3 letter, strategic plan, annual reports, etc., please log in to your profile and visit the various tabs to download and save those items as desired.
  • If you have a public profile and wish to download the donation/donor data for any gifts received through your profile, please log in, click “View Donations,” then “View Detail” next to each donation report. Once you are viewing a donation report you can then click the small “Export” hyperlink toward the bottom left to pull the information into Excel.
    • For nonprofits with a separate Giving Common donation form embedded into their website, please reach out to Leigh Handschuh by email to obtain any donation/donor data reports associated with those forms.

What will happen to my Giving Common profile content if I don't take any action before August 31?

If you do nothing, your organization's profile will simply be deleted and no longer available.

My organization regularly receives online credit card donations through my Giving Common profile or a Giving Common form embedded into my nonprofit’s website. What are some alternative options for credit card donation forms or places to accept online donations?

There are countless donation processing services your nonprofit can register with. Some examples include:

Please note, many online donation form providers have subscription fees and other fees associated with their services. The above bulleted list is only a small sampling of form providers.

Will the Giving Common be contacting individual donors who have given through nonprofit profiles on GivingCommon.org over the years to let them know that the site is closing and that the service will no longer be available?

Unless the donor is on an automatically recurring donation plan, the Giving Common will not be reaching out to donors through the site. This is in keeping with standard practice since the site’s launch in 2012, as the Giving Common does not proactively reach out to donors using the platform, aside from providing emailed IRS Acknowledgement receipts for their gifts. Similarly, the donor data associated with Giving Common nonprofit profiles has not and will not be shared with the Boston Foundation’s development or stewardship databases or staff. This is in keeping with the spirit that the nonprofits are in partnership with these donors, not the Boston Foundation or Giving Common. Starting on August 31, if donors visit GivingCommon.org they will be redirected to a page informing them that the site has closed, and offering a link to GuideStar, where they can locate nonprofits.

My nonprofit receives automatically recurring donations (i.e., monthly, yearly, etc.) through the Giving Common; what will happen to those recurring gifts?

If your nonprofit is receiving automatically recurring donations through its Giving Common profile, please contact your donor(s) and direct them to an alternative platform to make their gift, as the service will no longer be available after August 31, 2019, and their recurring gift will not process. The Giving Common staff will be reaching out to these recurring donors individually to alert them of this change; however, we encourage nonprofits to connect with their donors directly to ensure they sign up to give through an alternative channel of your choice. If you have any anonymous donors through the Giving Common, please email Leigh Handschuh to coordinate outreach messaging, to ensure the donor receives the proper alternative donation form for your nonprofit.

My nonprofit was required to complete and/or update a Giving Common profile to apply for and receive Boston Foundation grant funding. What will the process be now?

Since the Giving Common profile is no longer a requirement of the Foundation’s grant making through Impact Area Grants or Open Door Grants, the application processes will be much more streamlined. We are not adding new requirements, but instead collecting certain information, like board/staff demographic data, within the grant applications themselves or as attachments.

A funder, other than the Boston Foundation, requires the Giving Common profile as part of their grant process, will they be informed of the GivingCommon.org closure?

In conjunction with the announcement nonprofits received, we reached out to funders that we are aware of that are using it. However, please feel free to share the name of your funder with us, so we can ensure they also receive this communication.

What are some other platforms where I can share my nonprofit’s information and story with donors and funders?

Much of the data available on the Giving Common can be found on GuideStar.org. Nonprofits can claim, fill out and update their GuideStar profile by signing in or creating an account. As a reminder, if your nonprofit has its own EIN and a Giving Common profile, you can request a transfer of your Giving Common profile data to GuideStar to help fill it out.

Other sources of nonprofit information include, but are not limited to:


How can I continue to learn about nonprofit opportunities with the Boston Foundation?

Please subscribe to our bi-monthly Nonprofit Update e-newsletter to keep in touch with us.

If you have a question that is not addressed above, please email Leigh Handschuh, Manager, Programs Data and Insight, and (if you haven’t already) we invite you to read the blogpost about the sunsetting of The Giving Common.