The Hottest Thing in Philanthropy Today

7647017614_00300836fc_mFundraisers have a love-hate relationship with donor advised funds, and, according to Jack Shakely, it’s time to get over it.

In “Who’s Afraid of DAFs?” in the summer issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review,  Shakely, President Emeritus of the California Community Foundation, acknowledges that he was once the most outspoken critic of these charitable giving vehicles. Today, he argues that the growth of these funds, “represents the greatest marketing phenomenon in the recent history of charitable giving.”

Why? Because, according to Shakely, philanthropy now has a sales force. Advisors at Fidelity, Vanguard and Charles Schwab are not stealing your donors—they are actually exposing a vast new group of people to philanthropy and creating NEW donors.

According to the National Philanthropic Trust’s 2014 Donor Advised Fund Report, charitable assets in donor-advised fund accounts now total over $50 billion.

Here are three things you should do today to begin reaching the donors who control these funds:

  • Install the DAF app on your website—to make it easier for your donors to donate their Donor Advised Funds to your charity.
  • Write an article about Donor Advised Funds in your next newsletter. Make it clear to your donors that you accept those funds and explain how easy it is to make a donation.
  • Include an occasional mention of “gifts through donor advised funds” in your fundraising communications, especially those targeted to mid-level and major donors.

What is your organization doing? Is your DAF income increasing? Declining? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

– Posted by Kathy Swayze, CFRE @impactkathy

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