General Information

Information for Donors

Information for Nonprofits

What is The Big Payback?

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s The Big Payback is a 24-hour, online giving event created to increase philanthropy in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee. The goal is simple – inspire Middle Tennesseans to come together, show their pride in their communities, and contribute to support the life-changing work of local nonprofit organizations. 

In its first four years, The Big Payback has helped Middle Tennessee’s nonprofit community raise $9.3 million dollars for more than 750 charities, religious institutions and schools. The spirit of generosity shines bright during this annual giving event.

The Big Payback 2018 takes place Wednesday, May 2 from midnight to 11:59 p.m. Donations will be accepted during this 24-hour period through

How does it work?

This year, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is partnering with CiviCore to generate online profiles of participating nonprofits at, searchable by organization nameissue area and/or county.

Through, donations can be made to participants in our 40-county service area starting at midnight on May 2, and a leaderboard will display real-time giving tallies to keep our community informed on the gifts received and prizes awarded.

Why give?

Public charities, schools, and religious institutions play an essential role across our region – in health, arts, environment, education and social services.

Donations raised during The Big Payback are a welcome source of additional funds for these groups. We encourage the community to “pay back” local nonprofits during our online giving event – a special occasion to celebrate Middle Tennessee’s spirit of generosity.

Gifts made during The Big Payback will be amplified by incentive cash prizes for participating nonprofits.


Who can make a donation through The Big Payback?

Any individual or business can make a donation to a nonprofit participating in The Big Payback. Organizations are prohibited from donating to themselves.

How can I make a donation?

Visit the secure anytime on May 2, 2018 to use your credit card, debit card, or bank account information to donate a gift to any participating nonprofit. Please note that The Big Payback is a program of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and your credit/debit card statement will read CFMT BIGPAYBACK.

If you do not use credit or debit cards, you can make a donation using an E-Check. When making your gift, simply choose the “Bank Account” option and enter your Routing and Account numbers.

Checks and cash will be accepted at The Community Foundation’s office, located at 3833 Cleghorn Ave. in Nashville, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Checks are to be made payable to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee with the name of the benefiting organization listed in the memo area.

Credit card donations (MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover) made during the 24-hour donation period will appear on the website leaderboard in real time. Cash or check donations will also be accepted and will factor into organizations’ totals; they will be added to the leaderboard on a first come, first served basis (NOT in real time), and therefore may not count toward the particular prize period in which the donation is delivered.

I do not use credit cards. Can I make payments through Pay Pal or wire the money?

You cannot make payments through PayPal or a money wire, but you can give directly through your bank account by using our new E-Check feature. When making your gift, choose the “Bank Account” option and enter your Routing and Account numbers.

Can I give to more than one nonprofit organization?

Yes, the website has a shopping cart feature allowing you to donate to multiple organizations in a single transaction.

Can I make a donation using my tablet or smart phone?

Yes, our mobile-optimized platform makes it easy to donate using a tablet or smart phone.

What are the minimum and maximum donation amounts?

The minimum donation amount is $10. There is no maximum donation amount.

Can my donation be refunded?

No, however, if you make a typing error while making a contribution, contact The Community Foundation immediately at 615-321-4939.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Donations are 100% tax deductible. When you have completed your donation, you will receive an email from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee confirming your tax-deductible gift. Please save the email for your records for tax purposes. Your gift will be forwarded to the nonprofit(s) you selected.

On my taxes, should we list this as a donation to the organization receiving my donation or to The Community Foundation?

It should be listed as a donation to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

What nonprofit organizations are participating in The Big Payback?

Local 501(c)(3) public charities profiled in, as well as schools and religious institutions, are eligible to participate in The Big Payback, but must register by March 28, 2018.

How much of the donation does the nonprofit receive?

All donations will be paid to the chosen nonprofit as the net of the gift amount minus processing fees paid to vendors (credit card companies and CiviCore). CiviCore assesses a fee of 2.8% per transaction (including E-Checks), while credit card processing fees vary according to card type used; the full transaction fee is estimated to be no higher than 6%.

Does The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee receive any portion of the donation given to my selected nonprofits?

No, The Community Foundation administers the event and website but does not assess an additional fee on donations or keep a percentage of what is donated to nonprofits. The Community Foundation supports The Big Payback as a community service at no charge. The Community Foundation will be registered as a nonprofit with a profile on should you wish to support its work.

Is my gift safe and secure?

Yes. The website is powered by CiviCore and is a secure PCI-Level 1 compliant site for donating to your favorite nonprofits. Please click here to read CiviCore’s privacy policy.

How will I be recognized as a donor?

You will receive an immediate “thank you” and tax receipt via email from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Donor information is made available to nonprofits in real time.

You may choose to donate anonymously. Anonymous donors will receive a thank you and tax receipt from The Community Foundation, but to maintain confidentiality your identity will not be revealed to the nonprofit organization(s) you support through The Big Payback.

Who may I contact if I have other questions?

Please call The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at 615-321-4939 or email


What organizations are eligible to participate?

Middle Tennessee public charities, schools, and tax-exempt religious institutions are eligible. Click here to view the 40 counties in the event region. All participating organizations must register online by March 28, 2018.

Why should my organization participate?

The Big Payback is an opportunity to:

  • raise awareness about your organization,
  • multiply donations with matching funds,
  • reach new donors, and
  • grow your online/social media presence and fundraising success.

What is required to participate?

ALL ORGANIZATIONS must register online by March 28, 2018.

Public Charities:

  • 501(c)(3) public charities must have an up-to-date nonprofit profile on

NEW profiles should be submitted no later than March 7, 2018.

  • ALL profiles (new and existing) must be complete and/or updated by March 28, 2018.

Schools, Religious Institutions, and Other:

  • Religious institutions (churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.), public schools, government agencies, and other eligible non-501(c)(3) organizations are not profiled in, and must follow all requirements requested during the registration process.

There is no fee for an organization to participate. Organizations should prepare to devote time and energy to promoting The Big Payback among their own donors and through social networks. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will provide a toolkit to participating organizations.

Who should I contact if I have questions or need help completing my organization’s profile on

You can contact a coach at The Community Foundation at 615-321-4939 Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

How much of the donations go to my organization?

The gift minus the credit card fees and the CiviCore processing fee of 2.8% - a total of approximately 6%.

How will prizes be awarded?

Thanks to our generous sponsors, nonprofits are eligible for cash prizes through The Big Payback. Grand prizes will be granted to the organizations that receive gifts from the most unique donors and those that raise the most money within the 24-hour period. Organizations are eligible for one prize within a specific prize time interval. Additional pop-up prizes will be announced as May 2 approaches. Once a prize category is closed, the recipient will be announced on the prize leaderboard.

How can I help make the event a success for my organization and our community?

You will receive a marketing toolkit with a timeline to help make this a success for your organization. If you are not currently on social media, set up accounts for your organization and get started building your friends/followers lists now. Include The Big Payback in all of your marketing materials so your supporters know about this opportunity. You will be provided with a unique donation URL to share with your supporters to encourage giving by your advocates.

Can my organization host a special event?

Yes! We encourage you to plan an event, partner with other participating nonprofits, or connect with a local business to raise awareness about The Big Payback on May 2, 2018. We recommend nonprofits post their events on

Can we encourage donations by giving away prizes or free gifts?

No. All donations made during The Big Payback must be 100% tax deductible. You cannot offer a premium or benefits for gifts made during the event.

Can we coordinate additional matching funds for our organization?

Yes, if your board or donors pledge matching funds to your nonprofit that will be paid to you directly after the challenge ends, it could stimulate even more and perhaps larger gifts. You would advertise the availability of this type of match in your communications with potential donors. Match funds are not eligible for incentives, bonuses and additional prizes.

When will my organization receive our The Big Payback donations?

You will receive all donations and any prize money in a single disbursement no later than June 30, 2018. All disbursements will be made via ACH Direct Deposit from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

May my organization receive our donations by check?

No, all participating nonprofits are required to sign-up for ACH Direct Deposit in order to participate in The Big Payback. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is committed to improving the efficiency of its payment process and launched ACH Direct Deposit for grant payments in late 2016. 

What if the amount we expected to receive based on The Big Payback results does not match the final disbursement?

Although each nonprofit will be able to see its gifts in real time on the leaderboard, please be aware that a final reconciliation must be completed prior to disbursement of funds. Even though gifts are considered nonrefundable, a donation can be revoked for a variety of reasons from the time of receipt to the time of disbursement, including invalid credit card transactions. Donations recorded on the leaderboard at the end of the event are subject to a final reconciliation. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will provide a detailed donor report to each organization.

Does my organization need to send letters to donors for tax purposes?

No. After making an online gift, the donor will immediately receive an email from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee that confirms receipt of the donation and includes the appropriate charitable deduction language. Note that all donations must be 100% tax deductible (no additional benefits to the donor). We encourage you to acknowledge donations by following-up with donors (especially new donors) and letting them know the impact of their gifts.

Will my organization receive donor information for acknowledgments?

Yes. You will have access to donor information during and after the event.

How can I find out more information about The Big Payback?

Visit The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at or call 615-321-4939.