The basics:

Q. Who is Vanguard Charitable?

A. Vanguard Charitable is a national donor-advised fund. Founded in 1997, we are now one of the largest grantmaking organizations in the U.S. An ever-increasing number of donors—individuals, companies, and other organizations—are coming to Vanguard Charitable because of who we are and what we represent: low-cost, high-value philanthropic services.

Q. What is a donor-advised fund?

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a tax-effective way to consolidate, accrue, and grant assets to 501(c)(3) public charities. To establish a donor-advised fund, or philanthropic account, at Vanguard Charitable:

  1. Make an initial contribution to establish your philanthropic account. Because Vanguard Charitable is a 501(c)(3) organization, contributions to Vanguard Charitable are tax-deductible.
  2. Recommend investment options for the donated assets. Assets in the philanthropic account grow tax-free.  
  3. Recommend grants to eligible public charities you wish to support.
  4. Establish your charitable legacy with a succession plan which reflects your values.
Contribution & funding questions:

Q. How do I open an account and make a contribution?

A. Click the "Open account" button on the right side of this page. The entire process takes about 15 minutes. Please do not use the browser's back button to navigate between screens.  If you need to go back to the previous screen, please use the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen. You may fund the account immediately after opening. For specific detailed instructions for each asset type, please click here.

Q. Is there a paperless process to donate assets held at Vanguard to my Vanguard Charitable philanthropic account?

A. Yes. You can log in to vanguard.com, then navigate to the Vanguard Philanthropic Center to start donating after completing a one-time process to link your accounts. Contributions to Vanguard Charitable are eligible for electronic gifting through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center if:

  • The contribution is from an individual, joint, or trust account, including managed accounts.
  • All owners of the Vanguard account are registered for online access to their account on vanguard.com.

Q. How do I check the status of my contribution?

A. For specific detailed instructions for each asset type, please click here.

The quickest way to check the status of a particular contribution is to log on to your account.  Once logged in, scroll to the bottom of the screen to see recent transactions (those entered in the past 90 days).  For detailed transaction across the entirety of your account, please visit the Reports > Transaction Summary section of your account. Please see a list of contribution statuses and descriptions below:

Status Description

Pending Review

Additional research is being completed to verify that the assets and/or transaction is in good order. In some cases, additional action may be required by the donor.  Account advisors may see a prompt for additional action once they log in to their account; Vanguard Charitable will initiate outreach as necessary.

Entered

Donor contribution has been entered and is waiting for quality assurance review by Vanguard Charitable. In some cases, additional action may be required by the donor. Vanguard Charitable will initiate outreach as necessary.  

Assets needed

Vanguard Charitable is waiting for a mutual fund or security, donated from an account not at Vanguard, to arrive into Vanguard Charitable’s brokerage account. The transfer of assets must be initiated by the holding firm.

Transfer in process

Vanguard Charitable is waiting for a security, donated from a Vanguard account, to arrive into Vanguard Charitable’s brokerage account.

Assets received

Assets have been received into Vanguard Charitable’s brokerage account and will be liquidated as soon as operationally possible.  

Assets sold

Assets have been sold by Vanguard Charitable and proceeds may be expected to be available in the account within the next five business days.

Assets pending settlement

Proceeds are expected to be available in the account on the following business day.

Complete

Proceeds are available for granting in the account. For more information about how to value your contribution, click here

Q. What are your minimums? Do I need to maintain a specific balance?

A.  Our minimum to establish a new account is $25,000. See below for details:

Initial contribution minimum

$25,000

Additional contribution minimum

$5,000

Annual maintenance fee for accounts with less than $15,000 (assessed annually in March)

$250

Q. Can I contribute directly from my IRA to satisfy my required minimum distribution (RMD)? Are you eligible to receive direct IRA rollovers as part of the qualified charitable distribution (QCD)?

A. Assets must be claimed as income first, and can then be contributed to a donor-advised fund. Unfortunately, donor-advised funds are ineligible to receive direct IRA rollover contributions.  Please contact your tax advisor to determine if this is the correct approach for your personal situation. 

You can donate your RMD to Vanguard Charitable’s Sustainable Disaster-Relief Fund (SDRF), which supports communities recovering from natural disasters. The SDRF is a field-of-interest fund (targeted for a specific need), not a donor-advised fund. As a result, it is eligible to receive QCDs. But because the SDRF is not donor-advised, you will not have discretion over grants from this fund. Click here for more information.
 

Q. I need to specify which shares/lots to contribute, how can I identify specific lot cost basis?

A. Click here for information about identifying specific lot cost basis information for contributions from Vanguard for information on the default cost basis and how to specify lots. 
 

Q. How do I link my Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts?

A. Follow the steps below to link your Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts. This is a one-time process. Once you link your accounts, you can make future contributions directly through vanguard.com:

  1. Log on to your Vanguard Charitable account.
  2. Navigate to the Make a contribution page and select Asset held at Vanguard.
  3. Select Generate Access Key. (Your one-time access key expires after 4 hours.)
  4. Navigate back to vanguard.com with your access key to link your Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts.
  5. Once you navigate back to vanguard.com, enter your Vanguard Charitable access key and your vanguardcharitable.org username. Select the Vanguard Charitable icon to continue with your donation.

Vanguard Charitable account balances, investment allocations, granting history, and other Vanguard Charitable account information for Vanguard clients will not be visible to Vanguard representatives. A Vanguard representative who has authorization to process a transaction on a client’s behalf will be able to view the client’s Vanguard Charitable account information through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center during the contribution workflow only.
 

Q. Once my Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts are linked, how do I initiate a donation to my Vanguard Charitable philanthropic account?

A. Now you’re ready to contribute assets to your donor-advised fund directly from your Vanguard account whenever you wish:

  1. Log on to your Vanguard account.
  2. From the menu, choose My Accounts, select Buy & sell, then click Contribute to a charity to access the Vanguard Philanthropic Center.
  3. Select the Vanguard Charitable icon to continue with your donation.

Q. Do I have to use the access key every time I want to make a contribution to Vanguard Charitable?

A. No, linking your Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts is a one-time process.

Q. Can I contribute Vanguard mutual funds and securities held at Vanguard to my donor-advised fund?

A. Yes; however, only one type of asset held at Vanguard can be contributed to your Vanguard Charitable account in a single transaction.

Q. I have a joint account. Can either account owner make a contribution of Vanguard assets independently of the other?

A. Yes, so long as all account owners are web-registered on vanguard.com and have provided authorization for other owners to transact on the account independently.

Q. I am a trustee on an account. Can all trustees make contributions of Vanguard assets to the account independently?

A. Yes, so long as all trustees are web-registered on vanguard.com and have provided authorization for other trustees to transact on the account independently.

Q. What if I don’t want to link my Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts? How will I make a contribution of my Vanguard assets to my Vanguard Charitable philanthropic account?

A. If you choose not to link your accounts, you will need to initiate a transaction online at vanguardcharitable.org or use a paper form.

Q. If I have linked my Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts, can I unlink them in the future if I wish to do so?

A. Yes, you can unlink your accounts by contacting a Vanguard representative.

Q. If I have linked my Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts, will Vanguard Charitable representatives be able to view my Vanguard account information?

A. No. Vanguard account information will not be visible to Vanguard Charitable representatives. When a donor makes a contribution through the new gifting process, only the Vanguard account number, registration, address, and details of the contribution (that is, the holding and number of shares or dollar amount) will be visible to Vanguard Charitable representatives.

Q. When do transactions need to be submitted to be traded on the same day?

A. Contributions of Vanguard-held assets donated online through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center must be made prior to 4:00 p.m., Eastern time, to be traded on the same business day.

For transactions initiated on vanguardcharitable.org and/or paper forms, the trade cutoff times will remain 1:30 p.m., Eastern time, for Vanguard Brokerage Accounts (accounts which hold both mutual funds and securities) and 2:00 p.m., Eastern time, for Vanguard Brokerage Services and Transfer Agent accounts (which hold Vanguard mutual funds OR securities). A transaction can only be approved if all paperwork is received and in good order.

Q. How long does it take for my contribution to be available to me in my account?

A. The chart below details the standard timeline for liquidating stock and mutual fund shares, once the asset and required paperwork are received in good order by Vanguard Charitable. The schedule may vary depending on the circumstances of the donation, current market schedules, and the asset(s) being donated, such as restricted stock, thinly traded securities, and special assets.

Asset type

Business Day 1

Business Day 2

Business Day 3

Business Day 4

Business Day 5

Stock1

Asset received at Vanguard Charitable

Asset sold as soon as possible

Trade in settlement

Trade settles, and proceeds sweep to Vanguard Charitable’s money market account2

Proceeds exchange to selected investment options

Mutual fund held outside Vanguard (transfer process takes 4-8 weeks3)

Asset received at Vanguard Charitable

Asset sold

Trade in settlement

Trade settles, and proceeds sweep to Vanguard Charitable’s money market account2

Proceeds exchange to selected investment options

Vanguard mutual funds held at Vanguard

Asset received at Vanguard Charitable; proceeds exchange to selected investment options

 

 

 

 

Q. I transferred shares a few days ago, why can’t I see them?  Why hasn’t my account balanced changed?

A. Securities take nearly a business week to settle and be reflected in the balance of your account.  To view the status and details of your transaction, click "Contributions -> Contribution activity" and click on the date of your transaction.  The confirmation page will show the date the shares were received, the date the shares were sold, sale price, and settlement date.  This information is filled in as it becomes available. As long as the assets are received by December 31 you can claim a 2018 tax deduction.
 

Q. How can I view the details of my transaction?

A. From your Vanguard Charitable online account page, click "Contributions -> Contribution activity" and click on the date of your transaction.  The confirmation page will show received date, sale date, sale price, and settlement date.  This information is filled in as it becomes available. For further guidance on claiming a tax deduction in 2018, view our How to value your contribution guide.
 

Q. Where can I find my tax substantiation letter?

A. Once your contribution is complete, your tax substantiation letter will be available in the "Reports" section of your account.  For more information about how to value your contribution, click here
 

Q. Why don't I see my tax substantiation letter or contribution confirmation?

  • Tax substantiation letters are available online only to the donor(s) who previously owned the assets. For this reason, individuals with access to the account may not see the tax substantiation letter. A contribution made from an organization, trust, or company will be substantiated by mail directly to the address on file.
  • Once your contribution is complete, your tax substantiation letter will be available in the "Reports" section of your account. For more information about how to value your contribution, click here.
  • For gifts of mutual funds initiated through vanguard.com, transaction confirmations will be available only on vanguard.com.
Granting questions:

Q. How quickly can I recommend a grant to charity after opening an account?

A. You can recommend a grant online at any time when funds are available in your account.  For new accounts, you will not be able to enter your grant recommendation until your contribution has settled and the net proceeds are reflected in your available balance. Our grant minimum is $500.

Q. To which organizations can I grant?

A. Vanguard Charitable can generally issue grants to organizations that are in good standing with the IRS, qualify as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3), and are classified as public charities under Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code at the time the grant is approved. This includes religious and government organizations.  Vanguard Charitable may also approve grants to Type I, Type II, functionally integrated Type III supporting organizations, and intermediary organizations.  For more information please see pages 24-25 of our Policies and Guidelines.

Q. Can I specify the specific purpose of my grant?

A. Yes, in addition to choosing the recipient charity, advisors may also recommend a specific purpose for grant funds.  Grants cannot be made for lobbying purposes, to support political campaigns, to support specific individuals, or for any purpose that is not charitable.  Common purposes that can be selected during the grant recommendation process include, but are not limited to: general operating expenses, annual funds, scholarship programs, or specific projects.

If you have any additional questions, please contact a Vanguard Charitable representative 

1 If a stock is thinly traded, selling all contributed shares on the same day may not be feasible. Vanguard Charitable will use its discretion to sell thinly traded securities as quickly as possible without significantly impacting the market price of the security. Thinly traded securities must be preapproved by Vanguard Charitable before they are contributed. There is no definitive timeline for restricted stock, as processing depends on the cooperation of the transfer agent and company issuing the shares. Contact Vanguard Charitable with questions.

2 Interest earned overnight in the money market account is used to offset Vanguard Charitable expenses.

3 Mutual funds can take between one and three days to settle. The settlement period is specific to the fund and determined by the fund company.