The popularity of donor-advised funds as a vehicle for charitable giving continued to grow in 2011, with total assets under management by DAFs up 17.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, a report from the National Philanthropic Trust finds.
According to NPT's 2012 Donor-Advised Fund Report (20 pages, PDF), an annual compilation and analysis of data from 652 charitable organizations that administer DAFs, total assets managed by such funds increased to $37.43 billion in 2011, well above the pre-recession high of $30.59 billion in 2007, while contributions increased 10.6 percent, to $9.64 billion; that represents more than 3 percent of all charitable giving in the United States. The report also found that total grantmaking by DAFs increased 13.6 percent, to $7.7 billion, and that the number of DAFs rose 4.2 percent, to 177,357 — the first time that figure has increased by more than 2 percent since 2008.
"This year's report shows a promising future for the growth of donor-advised funds with their increasing popularity and impact on domestic and international philanthropy," said NPT president and CEO Eileen Heisman. "Going forward, we predict an increase in illiquid asset contributions such as real estate and stocks, a popular way to provide mission-critical funding of charities. Charities and donors with donor-advised funds must continue to build important relationships to keep the nonprofit sector vibrant."