December 3, 2012

NPT Report: DAFs are Growing

Author National Philanthropic Trust

NPT released its annual Donor-Advised Fund Report, the most consistent source for statistics on DAFs. The report, which uses the prior year’s data, found that 2011 was a year of extreme growth for DAFs.

The findings in key metrics—including the number of DAF accounts, contributions to DAFs, grants from DAFs and assets under management for DAF sponsors—all grew considerably. In fact, all numbers are at or above their pre-recession levels. The number of DAF accounts increased 4.2%; contributions are up 10.6%; grantmaking increased by 13.6% and assets under management climbed a staggering 17.5%.

The growth in assets is particularly noteworthy given that assets held in other charitable giving vehicles, including charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts increased by less than 3%. Other giving vehicles, like private foundations, are estimated to decline. DAF assets total $37.43 billion and contributions in 2011 reached an all-time high at $9.64 billion. Contributions to DAFs account for more than 3 percent of all charitable giving in the U.S. Grantmaking also reached a new high. Grants from DAFs in 2011 totaled $7.7 billion; this number, when calculated with contributions, results in a payout rate of 17.1 percent. That figure it well above the typical, mandated 5 percent payout rate at private foundation.

As DAFs increase in visibility, so too does our DAF Report. It’s been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. For more statistics on donor-advised funds, view the report on its new microsite.