Case study: The dual benefits of complex asset donations



Reviewing your portfolio


We make donating complex assets easier. Our seasoned network of financial and legal professionals offer decades of experience with all types of complex assets. Popular assets to donate to our donor-advised fund include private equity, LLC or LP interests, hedge fund interests, non-publicly traded stocks, and insurance policies—but in many cases we can accept the full range of assets listed below. Each complex asset is evaluated individually, and we're happy to discuss the complex asset you have in mind. (Please reference the Tax Considerations section of our Policies & Guidelines.)


Illiquid assets that can maximize your charitable giving:


  • Private Equity
  • LLC, LP, or LLP interest
  • Non-publicly traded stock
  • C-corp shares
  • S-corp shares
  • Hedge fund interest
  • Residential real estate
  • Commercial real estate
  • Artwork
  • Intellectual Property
  • Insurance Policy*
  • Restricted Stock
  • Exchange-traded stock options*
  • Foreign-traded stock*


*In most cases, exchange-traded stock options (puts, calls, etc.), foreign-traded stock, and the cash value of insurance policies are quick and easy to contribute. Contact us to make sure that we can accept your particular asset and to verify delivery instructions.

Unlock the power of complex assets

  • Support many charities over time with the proceeds from one contribution.
  • Lessen capital gains on highly appreciated assets.
  • Rebalance your portfolio in a tax-effective way.
  • Receive a tax deduction based on the asset's fair market value.
  • Simplify the paperwork and administrative tasks that go along with complex asset donations.

At every step, we stay with you to streamline the process and reduce the burden of paperwork, approvals, and communication among all parties. With our broad and deep expertise, our teams will work closely with you and your advisor to efficiently and effectively manage all aspects of your contribution. We aim to help you enjoy the benefits of complex asset contributions, while facilitating and simplifying the process for you.

Contact us to get started

Contact us to get started

When you contact us, you will be directed to a complex asset team member to discuss your asset. You may be asked to provide additional details via a form.

Prequalification & Due Diligence

Prequalification & Due Diligence

Once the form is complete and submitted to us, we will be in touch within 48 hours to let you know how we can help you meet your charitable goals. After that initial discussion, we may begin conducting more comprehensive due diligence as needed.

Transfer Ownership & Tax Deduction

Transfer Ownership & Tax Deduction

Once ownership of the asset is transferred to Vanguard Charitable, you receive a tax substantiation letter with the details of your donation. In most cases, you can claim a tax deduction based on the asset’s fair market value according to IRS regulations.



We develop a timeline and liquidation plan tailored to your asset type. Then work to liquidate the asset at our earliest opportunity.

Recommend a grant to charity

Recommend a grant to charity

When the proceeds are added to your charitable giving account, you can recommend how those charitable dollars are invested. Your single contribution can often support years of granting to a variety of charities, serving as a foundation for long-term and impactful philanthropy.



Donating private equity: Which option is better?

Scale illustration to represent comparing two options

Case Study

Ava wants to donate shares in ownership of a private company worth $10,000,000 with a cost basis of $1,500,000.1 She considers two options: 1) Liquidating the asset and donating the proceeds or 2) Donating the asset directly to a Vanguard Charitable donor-advised fund (DAF).

Complex asset donations are often time-sensitive and may need longer processing times. We generally liquidate assets as quickly as possible while adhering to IRS and legal guidelines. Due to extended research and processing timeframes, please initiate complex asset contributions well in advance of desired deadlines. Some complex asset contributions may be subject to additional taxes, transaction costs or legal fees. Contact us to learn more.


All donations must meet Vanguard Charitable minimums to be accepted.


1In this scenario, shares are C-corp stock with no corresponding Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). UBIT may be applicable in donations of other types of private companies, such as LLCs or S-Corps.


2This figure represents the combined 20% capital gain rate for earners in the top tax bracket and the 3.8% Net Income Investment tax (NIIT).


3Assumes donor has held assets for longer than one year. A gift is not a realization event by the donor and so does not trigger capital gains taxes to the donor. The charity recognizes the built-in gain when it sells the securities, but it pays no tax because it is exempt.


4Value determined by an independent qualified appraisal. Certain assets may be subject to a valuation discount, which may decrease the charitable deduction permitted.


Note: This is a simplified hypothetical situation for illustration purposes only. Please consult a tax advisor before donating complex assets.


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