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Getting Started

Benefits for Nonprofit Organizations

  • Enhance the development and marketing capacity of your organization by communicating your story to an increased audience interested in local charitable giving and grant investing.
  • Decrease the cost and time spent on grant applications to the Boston Foundation and other funders who will utilize the Giving Common through a streamlined grantmaking process.
  • Accept online contributions and enjoy an enhanced web presence locally and nationally including the ability to update the organization’s GuideStar record automatically.
  • Strengthen operating practices by publicly reporting key aspects of programs, management and governance and providing an organizational overview and the opportunity for peer benchmarking.
  • Increase public understanding of and confidence in the nonprofit sector through elevated awareness and improved transparency.

Requesting a Profile

Step 1: Check your Eligibility 

In order to be eligible to create a Giving Common profile, your organization must:

  • Be an IRS 501(C)(3) public charity*
  • Serve or be located in Massachusetts
  • Have current financials available**

We are currently working to profile nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status or fiscal agency by a 501(c)(3) as per the requirements.  At this time, Giving Common does not accept profiles from religious institutions that primarily operate for religious purposes (e.g. churches, synagogues, places of worship) or government agencies.

Please Note: If you applied for an Open Door Grant in the past, you likely completed a Giving Common profile. Please note that the Giving Common profile is no longer a requirement for submitting an Open Door Grant application or renewal application. This change was made to streamline the application process and save nonprofits time, based on the helpful feedback provided by prior nonprofit applicants.

For questions about this change or your Giving Common profile in general, please reach out to Leigh Handschuh, Manager, Programs Data and Insight by e-mail or 617-338-1623.

Step 2: Request a Profile


Thank you for your interest in the Giving Common. Please note that will close on August 31, 2019, after nearly eight years as an Initiative of the Boston Foundation.

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

  • If you have questions about what this means for your nonprofit profile content, please review the FAQs.

  • 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.

For further questions or assistance please email Leigh Handschuh, Manager, Programs Data and Insight. We are happy to help.


Step 3: Start Your Profile

  • The Giving Common staff will email you a username and password within a few business days, along with a welcome packet to get started on your profile.
  • It takes an estimated 4-6 hours of staff time to enter information into the profile.
  • Regularly scheduled trainings, phone and email support are available to help you with your profile.   For more information or to sign up for a training, visit


Noted Items:

*Most types of public charities are included, as well as all private operating foundations.  Type 509(a)(3) Type III Non-functionally integrated and 509(a)(4) organizations are not eligible to participate.  As a result, type 509(a)(3) public charities are required to provide proof of the type of 509(a)(3) status type.  All type 501(a)(1) and type 509 (a)(2) nonprofits as well as all private operating foundations are eligible to participate should they adhere to the other items noted.

**Your most recent 3 990 or 990-EZ and audited financials or financial reviews (if applicable) available are required to be uploaded to your profile.  Newer nonprofits (who have not yet filed financials), nonprofits who file 990-Ns, and fiscally sponsored or chapter-based nonprofits are also eligible to participate and we will work with you on showing your proper revenue, expenses, and asset data.

Current financials must be available for your profile.  Current means financials (all types of 990s, financial reviews and/ or audited financials) have been released within a year of the end of your most recent fiscal year end, covering that time period.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.