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.
#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 Kesssler, 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 […]
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Your browser does not support the audio element. Online fundraising trends continue to point to growth within mobile, so it’s not a surprise to see another study confirming what’s been happening of late. “The State of Modern Philanthropy: Examining Online Fundraising Trends,” from San Diego, Calif.-based Classy, examines data from more than 3,500 organizations and more than […]
Your browser does not support the audio element. A flurry of natural disasters, a booming stock market and strong economy, and more mega gifts all contributed to another record year for charitable giving in 2017. Charitable giving in the United States hit another record, cracking the $400 billion level for the first time ever. Giving […]
Your browser does not support the audio element. The M+R Benchmarks Report has become one of the most anticipated studies of the year. For more than a decade, it has tracked trends and data for nonprofits, ranging from email open and response rates to social media and mobile fundraising. This year’s study collected data from 154 nonprofits about […]
Conventional wisdom has always suggested that a nonprofit make a clean break from its founder, to avoid the dreaded "Founder's Syndrome" but according to research by Jari Tuomala and Donald Yeh of The Bridgespan Group, organizations can benefit when they carefully plan an extended role for founders who step down. The largest generation since the Baby Boomers has finally come of age, with the oldest now approaching 40 and the youngest in their mid-20s. Derrick Feldmann has been studying millennials for almost a decade. He's founder of The Millennial Impact Project, which puts out an annual study of millennial cause engagement that examines "the subject through a new lens each year since 2008." The latest research is the 2017 Millennial Impact Report: "An Invigorated Generation for Causes and Social Issues."
Digital leaders on senior nonprofit management teams can make a huge difference. So why doesn’t every organization do it? That’s part of the discussion with Jason Mogus, principal strategist at NetChange Consulting, and Austen Levine-Coon, digital organizing director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. They surveyed 80 advocacy organizations about their digital teams and programs. Some of the results may surprise you and there are a few new trends since the 2014 results.