Contributions to new or existing funds with Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s largest donor-advised fund, grew by 22 percent last year, to $4.4-billion, while grants grew by 24 percent, to $2.6-billion, according to a report from the company.
And Schwab Charitable reported that donors put $1.9-billion into the company’s donor-advised funds in 2014, an increase of 10 percent, and grants increased by 25 percent, to $928-million.
Donor-advised funds—which allow people to set aside money in charitable accounts and help decide later which organizations receive gifts from it—are sometimes criticized because donors get an immediate tax break but aren’t required to distribute any of the money by a certain date.
But as both Fidelity and Schwab’s figures show, distributions from the accounts are on the rise.
"We are thrilled to see donors very active in supporting a huge variety of causes as grants grew at a faster pace than contributions into accounts," said Kim Laughton, Schwab’s president. And with recent changes to improve people’s ability to contribute from their accounts online or with their cell phones, she added, "we expect to make it even easier to give in 2015."