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  • Writer's pictureDrew Schneider

Demystifying DAFs: Nonprofits' Billion-Dollar Secret on the Successful Nonprofits Podcast

Chariot was recently featured on the Successful Nonprofits Podcast, where its co-founders, Aaron Kahane and Salo Serfati, shed light on the immense potential of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs). Their discussion revealed strategies to identify and connect with valuable DAF donors, uncovering a wealth of opportunities for nonprofits across the United States.

Episode summary:

The number of DAF accounts has nearly tripled in the last four years with over 1.3 million donor-advised fund accounts in America today. This number highlights the significance and untapped potential of this method of philanthropy.

One key revelation shared by Salo was the importance of integrating a DAF option into existing donation forms. By doing so, nonprofits can effectively identify donors who have DAFs. What nonprofits are seeing is their donors who have consistently been donating with a credit card, all of the sudden start to donate with their donor advised fund once that option is presented. Salo emphasized, "You may be surprised - many more people than you think have these Donor Advised Fund accounts."

Salo and Aaron also delved into the behavioral differences between giving through DAFs and credit cards. When individuals contribute from their DAFs, they tend to be more generous than when using credit cards. Because the money in a DAF is already allocated for charitable purposes, they are recession proof. As Aaron stated, "People already set that money aside, so they tend to pay more out of a DAF during a tough economic time than they do out of their credit card or other checking account."

People view their DAF contributions as investments. With funds already allocated, individuals perceive their philanthropy as an opportunity to effect meaningful change without incurring additional expenses. "I have money set aside, it doesn't hurt me to give any more. It's like tokens I can use to make effective change," Salo remarked.

During the podcast, the accessibility of DAFs was addressed. Many DAF providers now offer accounts for free, with no minimums, accompanied by mobile apps and online web applications, making them accessible to anyone with internet access. This widespread availability further bolsters the potential for greater philanthropic engagement.

Chariot's co-founders expressed their commitment to their mission of channeling the substantial funds sitting in DAFs towards nonprofit organizations. Aaron emphasized, "We recognize that there is so much money sitting in these DAFs that aren't going to nonprofits, and that's really the mission of Chariot… get all that money from the $234 billion sitting in DAFs to nonprofits."

The impact of Chariot's efforts has already become evident, with the platform attracting hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a couple of months. Chariot's dedication to supporting nonprofits and providing value remains a driving force behind their work. As Salo put it, "we work really hard. We care a lot about the nonprofits that we support - it's the reason we started this in the first place. So, our goal is just to keep helping and keep providing value."


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