Can My DAF Do That? Answers To 6 Common DAF Questions

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are a popular philanthropic tool, but do you know all that your DAF can do?


With so many benefits and opportunities to increase charitable impact, DAFs are the fastest-growing vehicle of philanthropic giving. We answered six frequently asked questions to highlight how you can make the most out of giving through your DAF:

Q: Can a DAF give to a foreign charity?

A: Of course! This is one of the common misconceptions about DAFs. These funds often partner with intermediary organizations like GlobalGiving, which are registered charitable entities in the United States, to send grants to trusted charities abroad. Giving through an intermediary provides an added layer of security for the donor and a quick and easy way to give to your favorite causes anywhere in the world. Your DAF can give to a foreign charity and have a global reach.

Q: Can a DAF fuel recovery after disasters?

A: DAFs, like any other monetary donation, are powerful tools for quickly providing support after disasters. For example, GlobalGiving’s approach to disaster response helps donors safely and effectively move funds to vetted local nonprofits that are responding to a crisis. Contributions from DAFs give nonprofits the flexibility to allocate funds where they are needed most.

Q: Can I contribute in forms other than cash?

A: Yes, and contributions to a DAF are irrevocable and can be used only for charitable purposes. Here are some types of contributions, according to the National Philanthropic Trust:

    • Cash
    • Publicly traded securities
    • Restricted and control stock
    • Hedge fund interests and private equity
    • Real estate
    • Fine art, collectibles, or other tangible personal property

Q: What can a DAF do for me—can contributions offer benefits?

A: Contributions can offer several benefits, like these that Fidelity Charitable identified:

    • They make it easy to contribute a wide range of assets. That includes cash and non-cash assets like publicly traded securities.
    • They can maximize your tax benefits. Once you donate to your DAF, you are eligible for an immediate tax deduction. Specific types of donations provide additional benefits, such as the elimination of capital gains tax when you donate long-term appreciated assets (held for more than one year).
    • They can grow your charitable contributions. Contributions to your DAF account can be invested in a variety of ways that, over time, will actually grow the philanthropic funds available for to you donate.
    • They simplify recordkeeping. The only tax information you need is the receipts from your contributions.

Q: Can a DAF make a difference?

A: Definitely. DAFs have been on the rise in the philanthropic sector for more than a decade, with the number of accounts surpassing 1 million for the first time in 2021 and the amount of funds held in DAFs growing to $159 billion. Individuals have been, and will continue to be, the largest source of charitable giving. DAFs can boost their impact. By leveraging high-impact financial interdmediaries, such as GlobalGiving, your fund can be a responsive resource for changemaking nonprofits around the globe. And what’s more important than making an impact?

Q: Who can I talk to about giving?

A: Holly Belkot, GlobalGiving’s Manager of Strategic Giving, would love to share what a DAF can do through GlobalGiving!

Ready to give to a GlobalGiving partner through your DAF?


Featured Photo: Narrow The Gap - Crossed paths for social impacts by LIN Center for Community Development

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