What is planned giving?

Planned giving or deferred giving refers to any arrangement that will result in a future contribution to a charitable organization (in this case, a Vanguard Charitable donor-advised fund). There are many ways to structure a planned gift, whether the giving occurs during one’s lifetime or at death. Planned giving can provide an enormous boost to your giving legacy—making a profound impact on the charities you’ve honored throughout your lifetime. 

While social custom reinforces the habit of charitable giving during one’s lifetime, this is not always true of giving through one’s estate. Many donors miss out on the significant charitable and tax benefits of planned giving. Studies suggest this is not due to a lack of generosity but rather limited familiarity with the process.1 


Determining a deferred giving plan ahead of time ensures that your philanthropic wishes will be honored after your death. (To choose among customizable options for managing your account after you pass, consult our Legacy planning page.)

Including your donor-advised fund in your will

To bequeath assets into your DAF account, consider including the following language in your will with your details filled in.2 Whether you already have a DAF with Vanguard Charitable or would like to open a new account at the time of your passing, you’ll see the appropriate wording for your situation. We recommend sharing these templates with your estate lawyer to ensure they are properly tailored to your estate planning needs.

Please alert Vanguard Charitable to potential future gifts with our non-binding Intent to give form.


Existing account:

I bequeath ____________(dollar amount)/____________percent of my residuary estate to Vanguard Charitable to be directed to __________________(name of your donor-advised fund), account number ______________. These assets will be managed according to the succession plan I have created and filed with Vanguard Charitable.

Opening a new account:

I bequeath _______________(dollar amount)/________________ percent of my residuary estate to Vanguard Charitable to open a donor-advised fund called The______________(fund name) Fund. The creation and set-up of this donor-advised fund will be managed by ___________________ (person/entity name).


Option A—Designate account advisor:

The role of account advisor, as defined by Vanguard Charitable, will be held by _________________ (person or persons' names).

Option B—Create Endowed Grant Plan (EGP)

The account will be managed according to the Endowed Granting Plan I have on file with Vanguard Charitable.
        Note: If selecting Option A, consider including in your will a mission statement for the DAF account to offer guidance and direction to your designated account advisors.


 If you are using a revocable trust, your estate lawyer can modify the language above to direct the Trustee of your revocable trust to make a distribution to a DAF following your death.


To learn more about the role served by an account advisor, consult our Policies & Guidelines. To learn about our Endowed Grant Plan, see below. To set up an Endowed Grant Plan, complete the Recommend an Endowed Grant Plan form. 

Naming your donor-advised fund as a beneficiary

Another option for making contributions into your donor-advised fund account at your passing is to name your DAF as a beneficiary for any of a variety of assets you may hold. Depending on the asset, this approach may protect your heirs from substantial tax burdens.


On any beneficiary designation form or agreement where you can name a family member or heir, you can also elect to name a public charity. If you list Vanguard Charitable, the asset can be directed to your donor-advised fund account. 


Individual retirement accounts:

Naming your DAF account as a direct beneficiary of your individual retirement accounts at your death can be tax-efficient for your estate and your heirs. In addition, the full amount of the account will benefit the charities of your choice because charities do not pay income tax. (Donating individual retirement accounts during your lifetime leads to unfavorable tax treatment and is generally not worthwhile.)


Life insurance policy:

Name a charitable organization as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy and you can remove the death benefit from your taxable estate. The charity will receive the full death benefit with no tax obligation. Vanguard Charitable also accepts life insurance policies donated during one’s lifetime; in this case, the income tax deduction is generally equal to the policy’s cash value.


Charitable trust:

When you designate your DAF account as the charitable beneficiary of a charitable lead or charitable remainder trust, you’ll enjoy the flexibility of implementing a customizable succession plan. This plan can support multiple charities over time through your donor-advised fund, rather than just a single charity.


Instructions for naming your DAF as a beneficiary:

  1. Request a beneficiary form from the bank or entity that administers the asset. In most cases, this can be done online.
  2. Identify Vanguard Charitable as the sole beneficiary or one of many beneficiaries. Include the specific account number for your DAF account (i.e, “for benefit of The ________ Fund, account number _________”).3
  3. If asked for the beneficiary’s social security number, you can use Vanguard Charitable’s Employer Identification Number (EIN): 23-2888152.
  4. If asked for the beneficiary’s date of birth, you can use Vanguard Charitable’s date of incorporation: 02/27/1997.
  5. If asked for the beneficiary’s address, you can use Vanguard Charitable’s mailing address: Vanguard Charitable, P.O. Box 9509, Warwick, RI 02889-9509

Notify Vanguard Charitable of your plans

If you’ve added your DAF account to your will or have designated Vanguard Charitable as a beneficiary of an asset, please let us know! Our highly trained staff are prepared to help along the way and ensure your planned giving aligns with your charitable wishes. (Contact us here.) 


As you think about your long-term philanthropic legacy, remember the growth potential of contributions made today. In addition to planned gifts, Vanguard Charitable accepts a wide range of charitable assets, from cash gifts, to appreciated securities, to complex assets such as private equity and real estate.  



Our Endowed Grant Plan: Gifts to charity in perpetuity


Large one-time donations from a donor’s estate can be challenging for charities to process and manage. After their passing, many Vanguard Charitable donors prefer to offer consistent, ongoing support from their donor-advised fund accounts with an Endowed Grant Plan (EGP). While these plans are not permanent endowments, they can behave similarly. It’s theoretically possible, for example, that recurring grants could continue indefinitely if the account growth, which depends on financial markets and investment choices, outpaces the distributions. Learn more about our Endowed Granting Plans on our Legacy Planning page or in our Policies & Guidelines


1 Steuerle, C. E. et al. (2018). Patterns of Giving by the Wealthy. Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/99018/patterns_of_giving_by_the_wealthy_2.pdf

2 Information on this page should not be considered legal or tax advice as individual circumstances may vary. Donors interested in receiving counsel on their specific situation should consult an estate planning attorney for more information. 

If this is not possible on the form, please alert Vanguard Charitable to the potential of a future gift so that we may apply it to your account upon receipt.


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