In this year’s donor-advised fund (DAF) report, we explore both the long-term sustainability of DAFs and the flexibility of this powerful giving vehicle. Why Giving Matters is based on a new survey of Vanguard Charitable donors and a decade of data on the philanthropic giving of Vanguard Charitable donors. 


Please complete the form below to download the report.



Why Giving Matters: Responsive giving at donor-advised funds spurs greater total giving


Vanguard Charitable donors are free to recommend grants from their account to any 501(C)(3) public charity. While donors may have charitable causes or organizations that have long been important to them, they can also use their DAF for flexible giving—responding to emergent events or new information about different causes. 


Survey and granting data revealed that donors use their DAFs for both long-term, prioritized charitable giving and responsive, unexpected giving. We wanted to understand how well donors could give to emergent events without displacing their typical, ongoing giving. 


And the results are staggering. In fact, one powerful impact of unexpected giving on donor behavior was not at all one we expected to see!

Here are some of the questions Why Giving Matters answers for readers:

Vanguard Charitable leaf on blue background

How does unexpected, responsive giving affect overall and future giving?

Vanguard Charitable leaf on blue background

How does a Vanguard Charitable DAF support both expected and unexpected giving? 

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What can nonprofits anticipate from DAF donors who give an unexpected grant? 

Key Takeaways


In the first edition of Why Giving Matters, granting and survey data revealed that a DAF empowers donors to give more to charity and to give more effectively, with these benefits only increasing over time. In this edition, we focus on how donors can use their DAF flexibly to respond to both their longstanding charitable commitments as well as supporting emergent needs. Our findings confirmed the power of a DAF—but they also revealed an effect unexpected giving has that surprised everyone. 


How are donors able to respond to a great variety of causes with one charitable giving vehicle? How effective is a DAF in supporting donors’ various charitable interests? Read the report now to get answers to these questions and more.


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