Fidelity Donor Advised Fund Grants Up 29%

June 3, 2014       Mark Hrywna      

The average grant by a donor-advised fund was up 6 percent and the average number grants per account increased last year, according to the 2014 Fidelity Charitable Giving Report.

The average number of grants continued a steady rise to eight grants per year in 2013, up from seven in 2012, and the average grant size was $4,107 — up 6 percent from the previous year. Fidelity Charitable had more than 63,000 Giving Accounts at the close of 2013, with assets under management totaling $12 billion. The fund also had a record year for granting, up 29 percent last year, to nearly $2.1 billion.

The majority of incoming contributions are fully expended as grants within a decade. More than 90 percent of contributions made from 1996 to 2000 were granted to charities by the end of 2010. An analysis of granting behavior of more than 104,000 donors connected to nearly 64,000 Giving Accounts showed the vast majority of donors are actively recommending grants while some also use their funds to pursue long-term giving strategies.

“Having a dedicated account for charitable giving has helped many donors integrate philanthropy into their total financial picture, fundamentally changing their approach to charitable giving,” said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable. “They use their accounts to more easily plan for both short- and long-term charitable giving and to track their progress toward their philanthropic goals. The Giving Report provides an inside look at how our donors give,” she said.

About one in five grants were recommended on a pre-scheduled basis, representing some 110,000 grants overall. Those designated as “where needed most” rather than a specific purpose accounted for two out of every five grants. More than 50 percent of grants went human services charities and those serving animals and the environment. Almost 30 percent of grants went to charities in the religion and education sectors.

Almost two-thirds of donors surveyed said they discussed their charitable giving with family more than twice in the past year, according to results of a survey of more than 1,100 Fidelity Charitable donors released today. Some 17 percent discussed the topic with family more than five times a year. Almost 80 percent say the causes they support reflect input from family members. More than 90 percent said they strongly or somewhat agreed that they are teaching or have taught their children to give.

Among donors younger than 50, more than three out of four discuss philanthropic strategies with family members at least twice a year and almost 90 percent agree that their charitable choices are influenced by their family. They were one and a half times more likely than donors older than 70 to strongly agree that they are teaching or have taught their children to give.

Donors younger than 50 also were more likely to recommend grants to charities within education, human services and religion, while older donors recommended charities among a wide range.