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About us

Our journey to philanthropic payments began with a spreadsheet 

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Chariot started with a personal goal to contribute 10% of our income to Charity annually. A small group of friends who all shared this goal were seeking something better than a spreadsheet to track our giving & hold ourselves accountable. Managing a spreadsheet was tedious, error-prone and time consuming. 

How could we better organize our giving and spread the practice of goal-driven philanthropy to more people?

In the summer of 2021, we put an idea out there on Facebook about a “new” structure - a separate financial account for your charitable dollars.


As we encouraged more people to adopt this structure, we saw some amazing behavior changes:

  1. Participants saw giving as more of an investment than an expense. When asked to make a donation, they thought about allocating their charity budget instead of evaluating a one-time cost to donate.

  2. They focused more on the opportunity for impact and alignment with an organization’s mission instead of the cost.

  3. They started proactively asking “where should I give?” instead of only giving when asked. 


And the key was our initial goal was being realized - people were being net more generous - making larger gifts to more organizations more often.

“Discovering” Donor Advised Funds

As we spread the good word about charitable savings accounts, we quickly learned about Donor Advised Funds or DAFs. 

DAFs were exactly what we were looking for - but in many ways, even better! They are financial accounts for charitable giving, but they also have tax advantages and your balance can be invested to grow over time. 

We’re not ones to reinvent the wheel, and so we encouraged our group of 10% givers to close their debit accounts and open up DAFs instead. They could easily set up no-minimum DAF accounts with financial firms like Fidelity and Schwab, or tech companies like Charityvest, Daffy and Groundswell.  

But just as soon as we made the switch, we started geting the same feedback over and over: “DAFs are a great idea, but in practice we can’t actually use them anywhere!” In all the instances where people were most inspired to give - a school’s giving day, a friend’s marathon fundraiser or a cousin’s GoFundMe campaign - there was no way to pay with their DAF online. We couldn’t believe it - their DAF was the one account specifically set up for charitable giving and they couldn’t use it on any donation form! 

As we investigated further, we also learned about the frustrations that nonprofits have with DAFs. They are actively looking to raise more from DAF accounts and get more information on their DAF donors sooner.


While the $230 billion DAF market has been expanding exponentially, +20% on average per year over the past 5 years, we knew that it could be even larger and more impactful if DAFs were able to be used everywhere people donate. 

Chariot was born as a simple solution


We soon aligned on a mission to accelerate philanthropy with a modern payment network purpose-built for the nonprofit sector. We knew that an embedded DAF payment option could solve both the donor and nonprofit pain points, while helping to increase adoption of DAFs.


We were accepted into Y-Combinator and fine-tuned the easy DAF payment solution that would be a total game changer for nonprofits, donors and DAF providers. 


We quickly began to appreciate just how profound the implications of this solution could be: 


  1. DAFs could be used across the internet, allowing DAF donors and nonprofits to more closely connect. 

  2. DAF donors could use their DAFs more frequently, making DAFs their primary charitable wallet. 

  3. More donors would learn about DAFs, increasing their usage and adoption around the world, promoting the same behavior changes we saw when we proposed our first new charitable wallet structure with our friends - namely that people gave more to charity, more intentionally.

Hitting Major Milestones

We soon aligned on a mission to accelerate philanthropy with a modern payment network purpose-built for the nonprofit sector. We knew that an embedded DAF payment option could solve both the donor and nonprofit pain points, while helping to increase adoption of DAFs.


By early 2023, we were able to take our new technology live with our first nonprofit partners and fundraising platforms. Over the course of the year, we proved: 


  1. DAF donors were not only willing to use this new method of giving, they loved being able to give at the exact moment and location of inspiration. 

  2. An easy, embedded DAF giving option improves fundraising outcomes and donor engagement for nonprofits - see just a few examples in our latest case studies


By early 2024, we had achieved even more substantial milestones:

  • Compatibility with over 70% of the DAF market by volume

  • Natively integrated with many of the largest fundraising platforms for nonprofits. 

  • Used by some of the largest and best-known nonprofits in the country - some of whom also generously agreed to join our Nonprofit Advisory Council, making sure the nonprofit experience remained centeral as we continued to improve and expand our set of products and solutions. 


These have been incredibly exciting advancements for our team & community to achieve, but it is only the beginning. 

The future with Chariot


We have 2 main goals we are relentlessly focused on: 


  1. Making giving with a DAF easier than giving with a credit card, anywhere a donor is inspired to give. 

  2. Making Donor Advised Funds as common as 401ks, to drastically increase individual philanthropy


There are 60 million 401k accounts in the US, but only 2 million DAF accounts. This is despite the fact that 7 in every 10 Americans donate to charity. We envision a future where Americans’ primary charitable wallet is their Donor Advised Fund, but that will require DAFs to be usable in any location where a donor can donate. 


Getting closer to these goals would not be possible without the incredible collaboration of thousands of stakeholders in our ecosystem. Luckily, we share a common mission with donors, nonprofits, fundraising platforms and DAFs - we all want to increase high impact philanthropy. We know Chariot can play a leading role in building the financial infrastructure that will make this future possible. 


We are also proud to have joined forces with a powerful list of leading investors - including Maveron, Spark Capital, SV Angel & Y-Combinator - who are as excited by our mission to accelerate philanthropy as we are.


We couldn’t do any of this without the collaboration of our tens of thousands of nonprofit partners doing the hard work on the ground that inspires us every day. We know our world needs philanthropy now more than ever, and Chariot is working hard to drive new records of giving and impact.

Backed by the best
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