The Chronicle’s survey of donor-advised funds is based on information collected from 126 community foundations, commercial funds, and other nonprofit organizations in the United States.
Donors provide cash, stock, and other assets to the funds and receive an immediate charitable deduction; donors then decide what charities they want to support whenever they want to.
The findings of the survey were based on answers submitted to The Chronicle’s questionnaire by 87 organizations, which included 39 community foundations, 12 Jewish federations, 12 commercial investment companies, three universities, and 21 other organizations such as international, religious, and environmental charities. An additional 39 organizations are included based on data from the informational tax return charities are required to file annually with the Internal Revenue Service.
Due to the large number of community foundations in the country, many of which run small donor-advised fund programs, the survey reached out only to the 50 foundations that raised the most money based on a study by the Columbus Foundation.
In addition to community foundations, the survey polled the 20 colleges with donor-advised assets of at least $10-million as well as most other organizations with donor-advised assets of at least $1-million.
The IRS requires organizations that manage donor-advised funds to disclose several key pieces of information on their informational returns, including the number of funds held, the total assets of the funds at the end of the year, contributions to the funds, and the value of grants awarded to charities from the funds.
A searchable database of information The Chronicle collected from the survey, including a table listing administrative fees at 74 funds, is available on The Chronicle’s Web site.
To let the newspaper know about any donor-advised funds that should be included in the next study, send an e-mail to email@example.com.