Regulating Donor Advised Funds

Publication date: 
October, 2015
Philanthropy New York
A donor-advised fund is a giving vehicle designed to manage donations on behalf of individuals, families or organizations. DAFs provide a flexible way for donors to give to charities—an alternative to direct giving or creating a private foundation. Donors to DAFs enjoy administrative convenience, tax advantages and cost savings compared to operating a private foundation.
DAFs are the fastest growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States, with more than 200,000 accounts open, holding over $53 billion in assets as of 2013. Contributions to DAFs now represent 7 percent of all individual donations to charity.
Over the last several years, critics of DAFs have sought greater regulation that would require more disclosure and establish minimum giving requirements. This issue guide presents many of the statements that have been made in favor of those additional regulations and against additional regulations.  These arguments come from media coverage, position papers, and online commentary.  The statements here, pro or con, are not necessarily true, and do not represent the opinion of Philanthropy New York.  This issue guide is intended to summarize the arguments made by their proponents. We encourage the reader to check out the additional resources listed at the end of this piece.
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