Giving Compass' Take:

• Participants in the Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative from Stanford PACS explore the facets and benefits of donor-advised funds. 

• Are you utilizing donor-advised funds? 

• Take a deeper look at donor-advised funds

Thank you to the 1,127 participants of our DAF webinar on May 14! We greatly appreciated the quality as well as quantity (almost 250) of your questions, and will respond to some of them here that we couldn’t answer during the live event.

As background, the webinar was based on the work of Stanford students, guided by Stanford Law Professors Joseph Bankman and Paul Brest, and visiting scholar Daniel Hemel over the course of a nine-week seminar. Our goal was to explore the current issues of concern to the various stakeholders — particularly the nonprofit organizations that receive DAF grants. We read relevant literature, met with representatives of various constituencies, interviewed a number of donors, and heard from DAF grant recipients via a survey sent to the nonprofit members of CalNonprofits. We heard from a larger number and wider range of nonprofits than from any other constituency. But we should emphasize that we did not aim to produce a comprehensive survey of this large and diverse field so there are certainly limitations to our work and we leave many questions still unanswered. Those interested in field-wide data might begin with the National Philanthropic Trust’s 2019 DAF Report.

During the live event, we referred to interviewing a number of under-40-year old donors. The Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative at Stanford PACS was concurrently interviewing millennial donors and we were able to piggyback on that research to ask questions relevant to the policy lab topic. We realize that under 40-year olds are not representative of all donors, so we additionally looked at information about older donors’ reasons for contributing to DAFs.

  • Gifts of appreciated securities and complex assets.
  • Investing DAF assets.
  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) funds
  • Impact Investments.
  • “Rate of return” on philanthropic grants
  • Timing and payout

Read the full article about donor-advised funds by Paul Brest and Erinn Andrews, at Stanford PACS.