Donor-Advised Fund Spotlight Examines Grantmaking Trends Through 15 Years of Economic Fluctuations in U.S.

Research shows grants from DAFs increased 630% since 2007 and doubled in last five years 

JENKINTOWN, PA, June 7, 2023  –  A new spotlight report from National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), the largest national, independent public charity that manages donor-advised funds (DAF), found that DAF grantmaking growth rates have consistently surpassed growth rates of individual giving and other forms of giving for the past 15 years (2007 to 2021).

“DAF grantmaking has been on the rise for over a decade, more than doubling in just the past five years,” said Eileen Heisman, CEO and president of National Philanthropic Trust. “For our third spotlight report, we examined DAF grantmaking during the past 15 years.  We identified DAF granting trends and compared them to other forms of giving. We also utilized U.S. and global economic milestones that impacted giving to charitable organizations. The spotlight report’s findings offer insights into why and how DAFs are a key component of charitable giving in the U.S. and around the world.”

Donor-Advised Fund Spotlight: DAF Grantmaking in Times of Economic Uncertainty, the most comprehensive longitudinal review of DAF grantmaking to charitable organizations from 2007 to 2021, found:

  • DAF grantmaking to qualified charities increased 629.5%, from $6.27 billion to $45.74 billion (2007 to 2021), while total charitable giving from individuals in the U.S. increased 46.5%, from $223.05 billion to $326.87 billion, during the same period.
  • DAF grantmaking declined once (2008) while annual charitable giving from individuals declined five times in the past 15 years.
  • During the Great Recession, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 34% between 2007 and 2008, DAF grantmaking grew 14% and individual giving decreased 4%, according to Giving USA.
  • In response to COVID-19 and the movement for racial justice, DAF grantmaking grew the fastest on record in 2020 and 2021, 28.3% and 28.2% respectively, while the DJIA saw more modest growth during the same period (7% and 19%).

“This spotlight report’s findings reaffirm DAFs are a reliable, sustainable source of funding across economic and political cycles and in times of crisis,” continued Heisman. “Since 2007, research shows DAF grantmaking has consistently outpaced the growth of individual giving. We can conclude from 15 years of data that DAFs are uniquely positioned to help support nonprofits – large and small – from otherwise challenging times.”

Donor-Advised Fund Spotlight: DAF Grantmaking in Times of Economic Uncertainty is NPT’s third spotlight report published as a public service and available at no charge and without login requirements here. Spotlight reports focusing on DAF payout rates (2021) and complex asset contributions to DAFs (2022) are also available. Credit: National Philanthropic Trust.


NPT began tracking DAF data for this report in 2007. Since that time, we have analyzed a total of 1,127 DAF sponsors. This Donor-Advised Fund Spotlight relies on data from all charitable sponsors that reported DAF assets in any year from 2007 through 2021. Fiscal Year 2021, which can begin as early as April 1, 2020 and end as late as December 31, 2021, is the most recent year for which enough data is available for estimates and analysis.  More information on data sources and continuous updates can be found in the 2022 Donor-Advised Fund Report’s Methodology section.

About National Philanthropic Trust 

Founded in 1996, National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) is the largest national, independent public charity that manages donor-advised funds and one of the leading grantmaking institutions in the U.S.  Since its founding, NPT has raised more than $45.6 billion in charitable funding and has made more than 600,000 grants exceeding $23.6 billion to nonprofits around the world. NPT annually publishes the Donor-Advised Fund Report, the sector’s authority on the state of DAF philanthropy. Visit NPT’s resource library to learn what you can do with a DAF and about NPT’s impact investing solutions and funding your DAF with noncash assets. More at and