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  • Writer's pictureMitch Stein

The Top 5 Fundraiser Takeaways from Fidelity's 2023 DAF Giving Report

We've analyzed Fidelity's annual DAF donor report and here’s what you need to know

Read on to discover:

  • How DAF donors operate

  • The top DAF grant areas and trends

  • How to attract more DAF grants

DAFs (Donor-Advised Funds) are not quite a secret, but have been underutilized historically and are now growing rapidly. Fidelity Charitable is the largest DAF operator in the world and their annual report is a treasure trove of data and insights on the fastest growing vehicle in philanthropy (DAFs) and the behavior of the incredibly high-value donors that utilize DAFs in their philanthropy. Here are the 5 top takeaways:


1. DAF Donors Are Active & Intentional

DAF donors are increasingly active and intentional with their gifts. In 2022, Fidelity facilitated $11.2 billion across 2.2 million DAF grants– a 60% increase over the last two years and a 400% increase over the past decade. These donors are now averaging 12 separate grants per year, and each grant is almost $5,000 in size, on average.

Donors with DAFs give significantly more often and make much larger gifts than the general public which is why they need to be a strategic focus for all nonprofit fundraisers.

The right tools for DAF fundraising are a critical part of that strategy and Chariot makes it easier than ever to bring in more DAF dollars and donors to your organization.

Source: National Philanthropic Trust


2. DAF donors support every type of cause, but have clear favorites

DAF fundraising is relevant for any and all 501(c)3 nonprofits as DAF donors spread their support across every type of cause. That being said, there are clear issue areas that DAF donors are most likely to support with grants from their Donor-Advised Funds: Religion, Human Services & Education make up nearly 60% of DAF giving. Organizations in these segments have even more reason to be optimizing their DAF giving experience given how primed donors already are to support their causes from their DAFs.

Source: Fidelity Charitable


3. DAF Donors are supporting many new organizations every year

Source: Fidelity Charitable

If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough DAF support today, it’s never too late. DAF donors are contributing nearly ¼ of their giving to brand new organizations each year. That means that not only are they active & engaged in supporting nonprofits they know already, they are also on the lookout for promising new organizations to contribute to. In order to attract & convert these high value donors, it’s best to make it extremely obvious that you can easily accept DAF donations on your website. Implementing Chariot’s DAF payment option in your donation form puts DAF giving front of mind for any donor & enables 3-click DAF gifts in 15 seconds. That’s even easier than a credit card - and DAF gifts are 24x as large as an online credit card gift!


4. DAF Donors are a reliable & consistent source of ongoing support

Once you’ve attracted a DAF donor, chances are they’ll stick with you. Over 75% of DAF giving is to organizations that the donor has previously supported. 31% of DAF giving is actually scheduled as a recurring grant, which provides a predictable and stable source of support for the beneficiary organizations. Because of the tax benefits of contributing to a donor-advised fund, many DAF holders are contributing large amounts up front and granting funds out over time, which adds to their reliability year in and year out.

46% of DAF giving isn’t pre-scheduled, but is a “re-grant” to an organization they’ve previously supported. One of the key features of any DAF giving platform is that they make it easy to see and select the organizations you’ve supported before. That creates a much easier user experience than looking up new organizations and clearly contributes to the large percentage of giving in the form of re-grants. That’s also why Chariot also ensures that once a donor gives seamlessly with their DAF directly on your website, your organization will still be listed in their own DAF portal to greatly increase the chances of regranting.

The volume of grants that are either scheduled to be recurring or a re-grant to an organization they’ve previously supported demonstrates how DAF donors tend to be loyal supporters that want to make long term investments in nonprofits they care about. That’s why a significant base of DAF donors should be a top goal of every fundraiser.


5. Seize the moment

Still in need of more ideas on how to attract DAF donors? Fidelity discloses the top recipients of their grants by volume every year and the top grantees definitely reflect trends and current events. Last year’s stats reflect the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Many humanitarian organizations–like UNICEF, Save the Children Foundation, and International Rescue Committee–dominate the top 10 list.

These kinds of current events or crises that drive more attention to your cause or organization are unpredictable and it is critical to make DAF giving as easy as possible at the point of inspiration (on your website, in your giving form, etc.) to maximize conversion & gift size.

Community Rowing Inc. is a great example of how leveraging Chariot at the point of inspiration (within a Giving Day campaign) allowed them to increase DAF gifts by 20%. Optimizing DAF giving is a critical part of a modern fundraising strategy and Chariot is the only solution on the market that makes DAF giving seamless for donors and your team.

[You can learn all about the keys to CRI’s success in this case study]


Summary: Putting these takeaways into action

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) have become way more popular in recent years. For donors, using a DAF:

  • Makes the giving process easier & more intentional

  • Generates immediate and more layers of tax benefits

  • Streamlines the recurring gift process

DAF giving is rapidly evolving and expanding, and fundraisers should make sure their nonprofit is not missing out on this massive opportunity. Take advantage of these trends by:

  • Adding DAF options to your organization’s donation forms (check out this live demo of Chariot in action or try using Chariot yourself in this interactive demo)

  • Making sure any materials reaching donors highlight DAF giving as an optimal way to support

  • Educating executive teams & fundraising staff on donor-advised funds

  • Bringing DAF giving into donor conversations.

Chariot regularly shares educational materials on all things donor advised funds, so be sure to follow Chariot on LinkedIn and sign up for our newsletter to get DAF resources directly in your inbox every two weeks.

And if you want to go deeper on any of the data referenced in this article, check out the sources below:


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