Already a popular vehicle for charitable giving, donor-advised funds continued to grow in popularity in 2011, a report from the National Philanthropic Trust finds.
According to NPT's 2011 Donor-Advised Fund Report (20 pages, PDF), an annual compilation and analysis of more than 450 charitable organizations that administer donor-advised funds, nearly $30 billion in total assets were managed by DAFs in 2010, close to the pre-recession high of $30.2 billion. Moreover, contributions to DAFs increased to $7.77 billion in 2010 — a 25.5 percent year-over-year increase after a steep drop-off in 2009 — while donor-advised grantmaking exceeded $6.1 billion, up some $80 million. The report also expanded on a key finding of the recently released Report to Congress on Supporting Organizations and Donor Advised Funds from the U.S. Treasury Department, which found that payout rates for DAFs are substantially higher than those of private foundations.
"Our report confirms what many charitable experts have long known: philanthropists are attracted to the flexibility of DAFs," said NPT president and CEO Eileen Heisman. "The Treasury Department's data mirrors what we've found over the years. Donors increasingly recognize the unique advantages of DAFs, including the ability to contribute to a wider range of assets to support charitable causes during their lifetime and beyond."