Donor-advised funds are one type of charitable giving vehicle that enables donors to reach their philanthropic goals. The rapidly increasing number of individual donor-advised fund accounts make them the fastest-growing vehicle in philanthropy; and the rising value of charitable dollars granted from donor-advised funds also makes them the most active type of charitable giving vehicle. National Philanthropic Trust provides this report as a public service to those who are interested in this important charitable giving vehicle.

Purpose and Scope

This report provides an up-to-date analysis of donor-advised funds. It is based on data collected during the second and third quarters of 2017 about donor-advised funds and the charities that operate them in fiscal year 2016.

Additional data came from audited financial statements, annual reports, organizational websites and news releases.

Total estimated charitable contributions in the United States in 2016 were $390.05 billion.1 Individual giving accounted for $281.86 billion, or 72 percent of all charitable giving in the U.S., in 2016. Contributions to donor- advised funds have increased as share of total giving over the past decade. For 2016, donors contributed $23.27 billion, or the equivalent of 8.3 percent of individual giving as estimated by Giving USA.

Figure 1: Total Value of Grants from Donor- Advised Funds by Sponsor Type (Billions)
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  1. Giving USA 2017.