National Study on Donor Advised Funds

Feb 28, 2024
  • Description

The Donor Advised Fund Research Collaborative (DAFRC) is a consortium of academic and nonprofit researchers. Working across institutions, the collaborative is leading a 30-month, comprehensive research initiative to provide empirical data and insights on the characteristics and activities of donor advised funds (DAFs) in the United States. One of the initiative's main goals is to gather and analyze account-level DAF information that is not available from publicly accessible data sources, such as the IRS Form 990. The account-level data allows for a more nuanced and accurate understanding of DAFs, as well as comparisons across different types and sizes of DAFs and DAF sponsors.

The present report is the first of three major nationwide projects: (1) compiling a large, anonymized dataset from DAF providers, (2) fielding a management survey to gather policies and procedures from DAF sponsors, and (3) fielding a donor survey to gain insights into how individuals and families think about and use DAFs as part of their household giving.

The 2024 National Study on Donor Advised Funds includes information about DAFs from 2014 to 2022, covering aspects such as account size, age, type, succession plan, donor demographics, contributions, grants, payout rates, and grantmaking speed. The report represents the most extensive independent study on DAFs to date. Thanks to the collective efforts of 111 DAF programs that voluntarily provided anonymized data to the research team, the dataset covers nine years of activity from more than 50,000 accounts, with over 600,000 inbound contributions to DAFS and more than 2.25 million outbound grants from DAFs.