What fundraisers can do about the amazing growth of donor advised funds

The largest nonprofit in the US is now Fidelity Charitable a donor-advised fund.

This is a big deal, as reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Fidelity Charitable Pushes United Way Out of Top Place in Ranking of the 400 U.S. Charities That Raise the Most. And it’s not just one gigantic Fidelity. Schwab Charitable is fourth largest, and Vanguard Charitable ranks eleventh, and there are many more as you go down the list.

There’s a lot of money in donor-advised funds. You can’t afford to ignore it.

The MarketSmart blog has some help at It was bound to happen sooner or later, here’s why and what to do:

  1. Find out who among your supporters has a donor-advised fund.
  2. Encourage them to create in memoriam funds to support causes a deceased loved-one cared about.
  3. Suggest they list their donor-advised fund on a death notice so loved ones can gift to the DAF in lieu of flowers.
  4. Propose the fund be distributed to your charity upon death.
  5. Remind them that they can turn assets into cash with their DAF that can then be granted to your nonprofit.
  6. Point out that they can use the fund to teach their children about philanthropy.

But whatever you do, don’t let this important source of donor generosity pass you by!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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