Cre8tive Philanthropy


Investment and innovation in the for-profit social impact community.

Donor Advised Fund: Help or Hinder High-Impact Philanthropy

Today it was announced Harris, a bank, broker-dealer, and registered investment advisor firm, has launched a donor advised fund (DAF) in partnership with National Philanthropic Trust. DAF’s can provide donors anonymity, current year tax benefits, and consolidation of their philanthropic dollars. Yet, under the terms of DAF’s, donors lose a margin of control over their assets. As stated specifically in the Investment News article “donors themselves can express their grant preferences, but cannot require that donations go the charities they designate.”

So while DAF’s may increase philanthropic resources, it actually creates distance between the donor and the charity, and potentially the charitable purpose, making philanthropic giving more of a transaction than a meaningful interaction. Research conducted by Hope Consulting indicates this method of philanthropy is at odds with donors typical reasons for giving. Additionally, arm’s-length philanthropy does not generally allow for inter-generational or community building philanthropic activity.

For the most part, everyone cheers charitable gifts and giving. Yet, let’s not forget the greater reason for giving; it not just the gift, but the intent and the heart that means most.


Filed under: Giving, Philanthropy

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