Nonprofits embrace March Madness competition

Indiana has been forever immortalized as a basketball state thanks to the movie "Hoosiers." In the film, a David vs. Goliath narrative is told as a small town's high school basketball team beats a perennial powerhouse for the state championship. More recently, Butler University's back-to-back national championship appearances in 2010 and 2011 ignited more excitement within the state. Due to hoop hysteria, the idea for a competitive, nonprofit online donation service germinated from the very passion basketball had brought to three young entrepreneurial minds. 

An idea is born
Brackets for Good is a nonprofit organization that began in November 2011 behind the efforts of Butler graduates Matt Duncan and Matt McIntyre. The premise behind the charity follows the same, bracket-style formula the National Collegiate Athletic Association uses in its March Madness tournament each year. Fueled by the power of competition, the organization has built its website into a multi-purpose, online donation platform that also acts as an interactive tournament bracket which users can pick their favorite charity to win.

The seeding for the tournament is random, but processing donations remains the same. A charity beats its opponent by raising more money than the other across a seven-day time period, Fox News 59 in Indianapolis reported.

Their success speaks for itself, as their participation has grown from eight local charities in 2012 to 24 in 2013. This year, a fully completed 64-team tournament is scheduled to take place. 

The champion at the conclusion of the five-week tournament is awarded a $10,000 check from Brackets for Good. However, even if your favorite charity failed to make it past the first round, not all is lost. The groups that bow out early retain all donations accepted online, regardless of if they advance or not. The end goal is to use the bracket as an online fundraising tool for the charities involved and drive awareness to each group and their cause.

Donations in Indiana
According to Blackbaud's "2013 Charitable Giving Report," overall donations grew 4.9 percent last year, while online contributions grew 13.5 percent. Bracket for Good amassed over 21,000 page views for its website, and raised an average of $4,291 for each nonprofit, according to its website. Overall, the group raised $112,998.

The Brackets for Good tournament began on Friday, February 28 and lasts for five weeks until a champion is crowned. Nonprofits from both Indiana and Washington D.C. are participating this year as the organization continues to expand.

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