The ease and efficiency of donor-advised funds

The Spring issue of Philanthropy magazine highlights a panoply of what it dubs “new flavors in philanthropy.”  Those flavors include different giving strategies, tactics, and vehicles for achieving charitable philanthropy that go beyond checkbook giving, foundations, or your traditional charitable organization.

Under the appropriate headline “Giving Made Easy,” Joanne Florino discusses the history and benefits of donor-advised funds.  She notes the value that cause-related donor-advised funds offer, as they “enable birds of a philanthropic feather to flock together.”  DonorsTrust is mentioned here as one such example of a cause-related fund with our effort to help conservative and libertarian donors, just as the Tides Foundation does the same for more left-leaning donors.

The article points out that donor-advised funds are more efficient than private foundations at putting dollars into action.  In 2013, the overall payout from donor-advised funds sat at 21.5%, “considerably higher than the 5 percent mandatory distribution rate for private foundations.”  The cause-related donor-advised funds mentioned in the article put charitable dollars to work at an even higher rate: National Christian Foundation’s payout rate is 35-40%, Tides is about 50%, and DonorsTrust is at 83%.

You can read the full article here.


  • Peter Lipsett

    Peter Lipsett is vice president at DonorsTrust. He also leads DonorsTrust’s Novus Society, a network of donors under 40 committed to growing their philanthropic know-how. He has a dual degree in political science and theater from Davidson College and finally got a practical credential with an MBA from George Mason University.

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