Giving USA Special Report: “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know.”

Katie Lord
Vice President

On, Thursday, March 1, The Giving Institute and Giving USA Foundation hosted a webinar to coincide with the release of its latest special report “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know.”  A special panel included three industry experts on the subject: Pam Norley – President of Fidelity Charitable; Una Osili – Professor of Economics and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs, Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; Dave Scullin – CEO of the Communities Foundation of Texas and Mike Geary – lawyer and donor-advised fund holder.

This report is the first of its kind, revealing key insights into the creation of and grants from Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs.)  Want to hear the webcast in its entirety?  Click here

DAF Contribution Key Findings

  • DAFs continue to show annual growth – both in new funds being opened and in assets; Growth of assets in these funds is outpacing the growth of overall charitable giving – by three times the rate
  • Organizations most likely to sponsor DAFs have two characteristics: they receive large contributions and have low revenue
  • 15 organizations – consisting of community foundations, single-issue charities and national fund sponsors – hold 60% of DAF assets and make 60% of all grants

DAF Grants Key Findings

  • Education, religion and public-society benefit receive the most grant dollars from DAFs; education receives the most grant dollars
  • Granting patterns from DAFs mirror those of high net worth individuals
  • Grants from DAF are relatively stable from year to year
  • Differences between large and small DAF sponsors are nominal

After the Giving USA Foundation research was presented, Pam Norley, President of Fidelity Charitable, shared insights from the 2017 annual report regarding Fidelity Charitable’s fund holders.  Some of the myth-busting highlights of her presentation are below, including numbers from Fidelity Charitable’s Annual Report about the demographics of fund holders and the amounts of grants made each year.

  • Demographics of DAF holders (Fidelity Charitable 2017)
    • 55 years and older
    • 85% give to more than six (6) nonprofits
    • 79% volunteer with the organization receiving grants
  • DAF Grants by the Numbers (Fidelity Charitable 2017)
    • 60% of a DAF holder’s total giving comes from DAFs versus 40% from traditional assets
    • There are 9.7 grants per account annually
    • Donors grant out 24% of their assets annually from their DAFs versus 5% given from foundations
    • $4,200 is the average grant size
    • $19,000 is the average DAF account balance

In closing, Donor-Advised Funds are here to stay. They’re a great vehicle for both donors and nonprofits in making philanthropic impact.  As more research continues, it will be up to everyone to build relationships with our donors and DAF holders to maximize the benefits of this charitable giving vehicle.

And be sure to check out JB+A’s post on the continued rise of DAFs.

 

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