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2013 Donor-Advised Fund Report: The 2012 Fiscal Cliff Spurred $13.71 Billion In Contributions
National Philanthropic Trust

December, 2013

The 2013 Donor-Advised Fund Report, the most respected  source for statistics on donor-advised funds (DAFs), details double-digit growth in assets and contributions in 2012.  The report from National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) found significant increases in both the creation of and giving to DAFs, including an 18.9 percent growth in assets under management, now totaling $45.35 billion.  Contributions to DAFs grew by 34.6 percent, totaling $13.71 billion—representing over 4 percent of all charitable giving or more than 6 percent of all individual giving in the U.S.

"The economic 'Fiscal Cliff' at year-end and the debate on Capitol Hill about the status of the charitable tax deduction—as well as increased awareness of the flexibility and functionality DAFs—sparked especially dramatic growth in DAF accounts and contributions in the last quarter of 2012," said Eileen Heisman, President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust, one of the Top 100 grantmaking institutions in the US.  "Looking forward, I expect next year's report will also reveal a second year of back-to-back record increases for key metrics in the DAF market related to the Fiscal Cliff and its threat to change the charitable tax deduction."

National Philanthropic Trust's DAF Report has been published annually since 2006 and primarily uses data from IRS Form 990 filings to provide the most up-to-date and reliable analysis of the DAF market. The 2013 DAF Report examined 1,007 charitable organizations (the highest number ever analyzed for the report) that sponsor donor-advised funds, including national charities, community foundations and other sponsoring charities. 

"Donor-advised funds provide the opportunity to plan now for future philanthropic giving – in the US or internationally," said Heisman. "They are uniquely easy to set-up and manage.  As well, donors can leverage illiquid assets like stocks and real estate to fund causes important to them in the year that they make the gift and beyond. DAFs can be an excellent way for parents to share their philanthropic philosophy with their children to create a lasting family legacy of giving."

Key findings from the 2013 Donor-Advised Fund Report include:

  • Total assets under management in all donor-advised funds accounts were $45.35 billion. This is an increase of 18.9 percent from a revised total of $38.14 billion and continues the steep growth trajectory that started in 2011.
  • Contributions increased to $13.71 billion, or 34.6 percent compared with 2011 contributions, which are revised to $10.19 billion based on the new charitable sponsors tracked.
  • Grantmaking is estimated at $8.62 billion, representing an increase of 6.7 percent compared with 2011, which is revised to$8.08 billion with the data about additional donor-advised fund sponsors.
  • The number of donor-advised fund accounts increased by 7 percent in 2012, to 201,631 (from 177,357 in 2011), while the number of private foundations grew by 4 percent. This is the second year of rapid growth since 2008. The number of accounts at Single-Issue Charities rose by 11.4 percent; Community Foundations increased by 3.3 percent; and National Charities increased by 7.5 percent.
  • For 2012, the payout rate slowed slightly to 16 percent, reflecting the rapid rise in DAF assets alongside a modest rise in grants from DAFs. Payout rates from 2007 through 2012 annually exceed 15 percent, three times the mandated 5 percent minimum payout rate of private foundations. This level of grantmaking resulted from donors who wanted to give generously through challenging economic times.

Complete 2013 DAF Report available at NPTrust.org/daf-report and upon request.

About National Philanthropic Trust
Founded in 1996, NPT has raised over $3.4 billion in charitable contributions and currently manages over $1.7 billion in charitable assets.  NPT has made over 85,000 grants totaling $1.8 billion to charities all over the world and ranks among the Top 100 largest grant-making institutions in the United States.  NPTrust.org has more.



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