When the magnitude of the COVID global crisis was realized, those with DAF accounts had immediate access to funds that could be sent to charities on the front lines of the crisis. Like most crises, once disaster strikes, charities often receive an initial flood of donations and then those donations slow down. Donors with DAF accounts have the ability to provide both short- and long-term support, which is needed during the lifecycle of a disaster. There are four phases of disaster relief, which you can see in the graphic below. Each phase can have a slightly different charitable focus.

Looking to support COVID relief efforts right now?

Giving through a Vanguard Charitable DAF makes your giving go further.

Many people decide to give through a donor-advised fund because it’s an effective and strategic tool that maximizes charitable impact. Savvy donors choose us because we have the most convenient, cost effective, and impactful DAF available, that’s backed by high performing and broadly diversified Vanguard investments.


Here’s how it works. You open an account. When the account is funded, you recommend investment options that support your charitable growth goals. Then over time, you can grant to any number of charities. We keep our all-in fees low without sacrificing investment performance. Our low fee structure becomes even more important during a crisis because fewer dollars are taken up by fees. (That means more dollars to support relief efforts!)


Plus, working with us alleviates the administrative burden and time required to invest assets, conduct due diligence, and issue grants. It allows you to focus on your long-term charitable goals while still keeping funds available for immediate need.


Are you ready to get started? Let’s talk.

Giving with a DAF in times of great need

Giving during a crisis can often feel rushed. But granting during these pivotal times can be done thoughtfully if you have an established charitable plan. This gives you something to reference when you feel the need to grant quickly. If you don’t have a plan or disaster relief was not part of the plan, it’s not too late. Plans can be easily created or edited to include disaster-relief support.


The three worksheets below can be read now or downloaded to share with others.

Define Mission

Define Mission

Review or create a mission statement.

Consider Budget

Consider Budget

Evaluate budget and choose what to give.

Select Charities

Select Charities

Pick charities to advance your mission.

Would you like to see how others have granted in times of great need? Read this blog about our donors and how they used their DAFs to support disaster relief.

Tips to help your charitable giving


Giving during times of crisis can be overwhelming because the need is so great. So where do you start? Here are six tips to help you get started.

Support organizations providing direct disaster relief

Support organizations providing direct disaster relief

We collaborate with Charity Navigator to provide a vetted list of charities that are already supporting disaster relief efforts. You can see our most recent list here.

Support a community foundation

Support a community foundation

Community foundations are often dialed in to what’s happening hyper-locally and can often react quickly to emergencies. Check out this community foundation locator to find one near you. Or you could use this list of COVID-19 relief funds offered through community foundations.

Support your favorite nonprofits now

Support your favorite nonprofits now

In times of uncertainty, your favorite nonprofit may be wondering where its next donation will come from.

  • Consider sending unrestricted grants so the nonprofit can best use those funds.
  • Use your DAF account to set up a recurring grant to the nonprofit.
  • Contact the nonprofit to discuss the organization’s greatest need right now.
Think about nonprofits supporting your neighbors

Think about nonprofits supporting your neighbors

Providing support within your region can offer an almost immediate impact. Think about granting to local food banks, veteran services, homeless shelters, and rescue organizations near you. You can search for charities, and filter by location, with Guidestar, a free search tool for our donors.

Look to experts to learn more

Look to experts to learn more

Vanguard Charitable is here to help you find resources to make more strategic granting decisions. Other organizations can provide expertise as well. The Council on Foundations has created a resource center to learn more about how you can support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Consider making a global impact

Consider making a global impact

Looking to give globally? We’ve partnered with Charities Aid Foundation of America, an industry leader in international granting, to cover your international granting needs. Making an international grants can be done through our donor portal once you open an account.


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