Giving through DAFs increased 29.8 percent in first half of 2020

Giving through DAFs increased 29.8 percent in first half of 2020

Total grant dollars and the number of grants awarded through donor-advised funds increased 29.8 percent and 37.4 percent in the first half of 2020, a report from the National Philanthropic Trust finds.

Based on data reported by thirteen DAF sponsors accounting for just under half the grant dollars disbursed by DAFs annually, the Donor-Advised Fund COVID Grantmaking Survey found that nearly 1.3 billion grants totaling $8.32 billion were facilitated in the first half of 2020. Partly in response to the pandemic, the number of grants awarded was up in every sector, while many sectors, including human services (+78.9 percent), health (+54.2 percent), international affairs and development (+34 percent), the environment and animal welfare (+31.1 percent), and religion (+28 percent), saw significant increases in total grant dollars awarded. According to the survey, arts and culture was the only sector to see a decline (-9 percent) in grant dollars awarded.

Released simultaneously, NPT's 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report found that DAF grants awarded by nearly a thousand DAF-sponsoring organizations — including national charities, community foundations, and single-issue entities — in fiscal year 2019 totaled $27.37 billion, up 15.4 percent from FY18 and 93 percent from FY15. Contributions to DAFs in FY19 totaled $38.81 billion, up 7.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, while charitable assets under management totaled $141.95 billion, up 16.2 percent. According to the report, the number of DAF accounts increased 19.4 percent in 2019, while the average account size fell 2.7 percent, to $167,002, and the average payout rate ticked up to 22.4 percent, below the 22.8 percent rate recorded in FY17.

"The 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report reflects heightened philanthropic engagement, financial market fluctuations, increased interest in illiquid asset contributions, and longer-term impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017," said National Philanthropic Trust CEO Eileen Heisman. "Grants from DAFs to qualified charities have grown twice as fast as contributions to DAFs and have increased more than 90 percent over the last four years. The majority of DAFs reflect their donors' wish to be active philanthropists who give generously and regularly. Donors continue making contributions to their DAFs because they experience how easy it is to support the causes most important to them."

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"Donor-Advised Fund COVID Grantmaking Survey." National Philanthropic Trust report 02/02/2021. "2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report." National Philanthropic Trust report 02/02/2021. "2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report: Grants to charities increase 15% to $27 billion and total charitable assets surpass $141 billion." National Philanthropic Trust press release 02/02/2021.