May 09, 2017

Understanding and Tapping Into Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-advised funds — accounts that allow people to make a gift and take a tax deduction that same year but wait as long as they wish to direct the money to charity — have been a mainstay at community foundations for generations.

But in the past decade or so, the popularity of these giving vehicles has exploded, driven in large part by financial-services companies entering the field and spinning off charitable arms to manage such funds. Last year, for the first time, a donor-advised-fund provider — Fidelity Charitable — topped The Chronicle’annual ranking of America’s biggest charities by dollars raised.

Donors can advise on what nonprofits will get the money in their accounts, but legally the donation comes from the fund manager, be it a community foundation or an offshoot of a financial firm like Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard. As a result, many charities find it difficult to build relationships with donor-advised-fund account holders.

The following resources will help you learn more about how donor-advised funds are changing philanthropy and how to connect with fund owners.

September 07, 2016

How Community Foundations Tap Wealth Advisers to Attract Donor-Advised Funds

Meeting with financial advisers regularly and touting your organization’s expertise in the community helps attract these funds.

October 27, 2016

Donor-Advised Funds Reshape the Philanthropy Landscape

The donation vehicles managed by Philanthropy 400 leader Fidelity Charitable and other sponsors are changing how Americans view giving — and how charities compete.

October 27, 2016

A New Way to Give: Inside the Donor-Advised-Fund Explosion

A Chronicle analysis of 85 sponsors of donor-advised funds offers insights into the phenomenal growth of these giving vehicles that are challenging conventions of philanthropy.

April 05, 2016

5 Ways to Attract Gifts From Donor-Advised Funds

Experts share tips on how nonprofits can get more contributions from DAF owners.

October 29, 2015

How Donor-Advised Fund Holders Think About Gifts

Most have a "good sense" of where they want their donations to go, according to a study that offers a rare glimpse into their thoughts on philanthropy. Plus, how men and women differ in planning and making gifts. 

October 27, 2016

Flush With $51 Billion, Donor-Advised Funds Face Payout Questions

As the funds' collective coffers swell, their rate of grant making has slowed, further fueling criticism that the popular charitable accounts are warehousing dollars that could be doing good.