Donor-advised funds (DAF) have become one of the fastest-growing vehicles for philanthropy in the past decade. They also have become a lightning rod in the debate about charitable giving, described by skeptics as a “Wall Street takeover of charity.”
Other critics argue that that donors can receive a tax deduction for contributions to their DAF account but the money can potentially be years away from going to an actual charity. There also can be issues of transparency when it comes to donors and tracking specific distributions and contributions.
Danielle Vance-McMullen and Dan Heist join this episode of the Fresh Research podcast to discuss their recent paper, “Understanding Donor-Advised Funds: How Grants Flow During Recessions,” in which they examine payout rates and flow rates of DAFs over the past decade. A .pdf of the 51-page paper can be found here and executive summary here.
The paper compiled Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data over a 10-year period (2007-2016). Almost 1,000 DAF sponsors were examined among three categories: national, community foundations, and special issue. Growth during this time has been dominated by commercial DAF sponsors but community foundations often feature the oldest DAFs.
Vance-McMullen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in public and nonprofit administration at the University of Memphis. Heist recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and will be a professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Grant distributions via DAFs is resilient during a recession, according to the authors, either “remaining constant or decreasing only slightly even when contributions and asset levels both drop precipitously.” The median flow rate was 85 percent. Median payout rates and flow rates vary by sponsor types and sizes of DAF sponsors. National sponsors had the highest payout rate, an average 22 percent, but lowest flow rate, about 70 percent. Community foundation DAFs had median payout rates of 10 percent while single-issue charities had the highest.
The percentage of household income given to charity each year generally runs about 2 percent across most income levels, but goes up with wealth, according to a new research paper. Benjamin Priday, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, joined the Fresh Research podcast to discuss, “Generosity Across Income and Wealth […]
“I feel I am valued in this organization.” “I can trust what this organization tells me.” “Most days, I feel I have made progress at work.” Those are three of the top 10 drivers identified in the 2020 Best Nonprofits To Work For. The special report appears annually in the April edition of The NonProfit […]
Regular programming for the Fresh Research podcast has been pre-empted this month to tackle the the issue that has impacted life worldwide the past few weeks: the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The NonProfit Times recently hosted a webinar on mail and digital messaging to donors during COVID-19, which has led to widespread shutdowns of non-essential business […]
This episode of Fresh Research tackles the options when it comes to donors appeals. Should your appeal take aim at the donor and benefits to them, or instead remind them how their gift would benefit the community? John List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago collaborated with James J. Murphy […]
Thanking donors for their gifts may be the right thing to do but does it lead to more gifts or bigger donations in the future? A thank you call to a donor for their gift may be just polite and considered the right thing to do but a recent study suggests that they won’t impact […]
About $1.60 of every $100 in charitable giving in the United States goes to an organization exclusively dedicated to women and girls. A new report estimates that more than 45,000 nonprofit organizations are dedicated to women and girls and receive about $6.3 billion in charitable contributions. That makes up about 3.3 percent of all charities […]
#GivingTuesday will be here before you know it. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving — this year, Dec. 3 — is when the charitable sector has come together to help offset the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday last year was responsible for raising an estimated $400 million. That figure has grown each year since […]
The number of taxpayers who itemized last year has been in steep decline, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data. Why? And why is that important? Well, most charitable giving in the U.S. comes from itemizers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction. Fewer than 1 in […]
The nonprofit sector employs some 12.3 million people and accounts for more than 10 percent of the workforce in the United States. Payrolls exceed that of construction, finance and transportation. The number of nonprofits has increased by almost 75 percent between 2000 and 2016. There are 1.425 million nonprofits in the United States, including almost […]
Giving USA estimated that charitable giving in the United States was $427.71 billion overall in 2018, a less-than-1-percent increase over the $424.74 billion for 2017, according to preliminary estimates from “Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018,” released last month. Adjusted for inflation, giving was actually down 1.7 percent over the […]
Millennials often get blamed for killing entire industries, from cars and diamonds to malls, fast casual restaurants and cable television. Apparently, they spend so much on avocado toast that they can’t afford a mortgage (or that could be the result of their crushing college debt and coming of age in the Great Recession). But Millennials […]
The 13th annual M+R Benchmarks Study is chock full of data almost as far as the eye can see. That’s what happens when you analyze 4.4 million emails sent to 37.5 million email addresses, more than 7 million online gifts and $376 million raised, all from a variety of 135 nonprofits of all shapes and […]
Waiting a month to ask for a gift decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30 percent. That’s according to research on positive reciprocity that looked at more than 18,000 donation solicitations by a university hospital system. “Field study of charitable giving reveals that reciprocity decays over time” was published by Judd Kessler, associate professor […]
Donor-advised funds (DAF) have become one of the fastest-growing vehicles for philanthropy in the past decade. They also have become a lightning rod in the debate about charitable giving, described by skeptics as a “Wall Street takeover of charity.” Other critics argue that that donors can receive a tax deduction for contributions to their DAF account but the […]
Two of the two largest data and information nonprofit organizations in the United States announced a merger on Feb. 1. The Foundation Center and GuideStar will become Candid after almost two years of discussions on a merger that has its origins at least a decade in the making. Brad Smith, president of the Foundation Center, will be president of Candid, […]
More charitable giving than ever is coming from high-income households while the donor universe has been shrinking for years. Those are some of the concerns identified in “Gilded Giving 2018: Top Heavy Philanthropy and Its Perils to the Independent Sector and Democracy.” Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the […]
Part 1: Robert Grimm & Nathan Dietz Where are America’s volunteers? That’s literally the question posed, and answered, by a new study from the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy: “Where Are America’s Volunteers? A Look At America’s Widespread Decline in Volunteering in Cities and States.” Robert Grimm, director of the Do […]
Part 1: Libbie Landles-Cobb Only about half of nonprofits surveyed agreed that their executive team communicates to others. Two-thirds agreed that their teams focus on the right work or use their time effectively. Now, that’s not Michael Scott-level executive management but it could use some work. The Bridgespan Group has come up with what it calls […]
Your browser does not support the audio element. Part 1: Jason Coupet and Jessica Haynie Nonprofit overhead seems to be the most popular way to evaluate nonprofits, although even watchdogs that made program and expense ratios a focus are trying to come up with other ways to measure an organization’s effectiveness. Jason Coupet, assistant professor […]
Your browser does not support the audio element. Part 1: Rebecca Nesbit and Laurie Paarlberg Hardly a day goes by when someone isn’t questioning whether there are too many nonprofits in the United States. True, there are more than 1.5 million organizations, twice as many as two decades ago, but a group of researchers looked […]