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What is a donor-advised fund?

A simple, flexible and tax-efficient way to give to your favorite charities.

A donor-advised fund, or DAF, is a charitable giving vehicle sponsored by a public charity that allows you to make a contribution to that charity and be eligible for an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants over time to any IRS-qualified public charity.

When you give, you want your charitable contributions to be as effective as possible. Donor-advised funds are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States because they are one of the easiest and most tax-advantageous ways to give to charity. When you donate to your donor-advised fund, you're making a tax-deductible donation to the organization sponsoring the fund. But because your account is a donor-advised fund, you advise the organization on how to grant the money out to your favorite charities. Your donation is also invested based on your preferences, so it has the potential to grow, tax-free, while you're deciding which charities to support.

How a donor-advised fund works






Make a tax-deductible donation

Donate cash, stocks or non-publicly traded assets such as real estate, private business interests and private company stock and get your tax receipt. You’ll also be eligible for an immediate tax deduction. See what you can donate.

Support charities you love, now or over time

You can support any IRS-qualified public charity with money in your donor-advised fund. The public charity sponsoring your account will conduct due diligence to ensure the funds granted out will be used for charitable purposes and the grantee is an IRS-qualified public charity. Find a charity.

Grow your donation, tax-free

While you're deciding which charities to support, your donation can potentially grow based on your investment preferences, making available even more money for charities. Investment options.

A smarter way to give

What if you could support all your favorite charities with just one donation? That's the power of a donor-advised fund. Ours is called the Giving Account.

Learn more about the benefits of the Giving Account

A wide range of acceptable assets

Contributing assets other than cash is simple with a donor-advised fund; other types of charities may not be able to accept non-cash donations.

Assets generally accepted include

  • Cash equivalents
  • Publicly traded securities
  • Certain restricted, controlled, or lock-up stock
  • Mutual fund shares
  • Bitcoin
  • Private equity and hedge fund interests
  • Real estate
  • Certain complex assets, such as privately held C-corp and S-corp shares

Tax benefits

As soon as you make a donation, you are eligible for an immediate tax deduction, just as you would by donating to another public charity. Your tax deduction may depend on the type of donation.

  • Cash donation - If you donate cash, via check or wire transfer, you're generally eligible for an income tax deduction of up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.
  • Long-term appreciated assets - Donating long-term appreciated securities potentially allows you to maximize capital gains tax advantages, which could help you reduce taxes and ultimately give more to charity. If you have long-term appreciated assets, such as stocks, bonds or real estate, you have an opportunity to further maximize your deduction. By donating these types of assets directly to charity, you generally won't have to pay capital gains, and you can take an income tax deduction in the amount of the full fair-market value, up to 30% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Other advantages of a donor-advised fund

Continue to enjoy benefits beyond the basics.

  • Simplified recordkeeping - it's much easier to keep track of one tax receipt
  • Support your legacy planning
  • Authorize your financial advisor to help you take full advantage of your donor-advised fund
  • Name your donor-advised account, such as the Robinson Family Fund

How Fidelity Charitable can help

The Giving Account, a donor-advised fund

Since 1991, we have been a leader in charitable planning and giving solutions, helping donors like you support their favorite charities in smart ways. From world-class service to expertise in handling donations of non-publicly traded assets, we have your needs covered. Join over 100,000 donors who choose Fidelity Charitable to make their giving simple and more effective.

Giving resources

Donor stories

See how donors use their Giving Account.

Read donor stories

2016 Giving Report

A deeper look at Fidelity Charitable donors and the different ways they give.

Read the report

Research tools

Feel good about where you choose to send your support.

Research charities

Ready to get started?

Establishing your Giving Account is easy and only takes 5 minutes.

All you need is your Social Security number and, when you're ready, a $5,000 minimum donation.

Open a Giving Account

Or call us at 1-800-262-6039