Focusing on the Donor in Donor Advised Funds

By Robert Evans

Donor advised funds (DAFs) no longer represent the future; the giving vehicles very much embody the present of philanthropy. At the same time, many nonprofit leaders and donors lack a thorough understanding of DAFS and the potential that exists as a result of their growing popularity among middle and higher income households.

DAFs are a vibrant charitable vehicle allowing people to set aside philanthropic dollars that earn income in a fund managed by a third party, but that will ultimately be used to support legitimate nonprofits. The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund is the second largest nonprofit today in the U.S. and has been in existence for more than 25 years. Numerous community foundations, including most Jewish federations, have created the resources to offer DAFs to their constituents.