Total charitable impact


Steps to identify specific lot cost basis information for contributions from Vanguard

Cost basis for Vanguard mutual funds held at Vanguard

By default, Vanguard uses the average cost method to identify mutual fund shares.  In accordance with this method, your oldest purchased shares will be transferred first unless you specify other instructions prior to the trade cut-off. If your chosen cost basis method on your account is “Specific ID,” you as the donor must identify the shares to be donated at the time you submit your contribution.

Cost basis for securities held at Vanguard

By default, Vanguard uses the FIFO (first in-first out) method to identify security shares, unless you provide other instructions prior to the trade cut-off.  If the cost basis method for your account is “Specific ID” and you would like to contribute a specific lot of shares, you as the donor must identify the shares to be donated at the time you submit your contribution.

To identify specific lots for your contribution to Vanguard Charitable, choose one of the methods below.

Methods to identify cost basis (mutual funds and securities):

Contribution entered on

Enter your contribution on through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center. If you have elected specific identification for your cost basis method you will be able to select which lots of shares to donate during the contribution process. However, the shares may use average cost instead of original cost if they are non-covered or if the shares were purchased prior to an exiting average cost. Please refer to to view the basis prior to selecting lots. You can only change the cost basis method through the account maintenance page on If the position is currently average cost, a nightly cycle is required to update the available lots.


Contribution entered on or via paper

  1. Submit a Letter of authorization.  Both the pre-generated form that you receive as your funding instructions in Step 4, and the blank Letter of authorization form available on our website, include a place to identify specific lots.  (Note: If you are entering your contribution using the electronic authorization, you will not receive a pre-generated form.)

  2. Submit a Vanguard Charitable Letter of Instruction signed and dated by all registered owners of the account. If additional pages are needed, all registered owners must sign each page. This form MUST be received by Vanguard Charitable via email or fax at the time the contribution is entered. 

  3. Contact your Vanguard representative at the time you enter your contribution on Vanguard Charitable’s website.  You will need the following information ready:
    1. Vanguard account number
    2. Mutual fund name or security symbol
    3. Date the shares were acquired
    4. The quantity of shares and original purchase price

If you have any additional questions regarding cost basis, please contact a Vanguard Charitable representative.