DAF Data Goes to Washington

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 2:49 pm EST
Eva Nico

I didn’t go to “Foundations on the Hill” (FOTH) but was there in spirit through the data and stories collected by FSG and CF Insights. On March 21-22 representatives of organized philanthropy gathered in Washington, D.C., for two days of face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and their staff.

For a taste of the experience and why it is important, read the “First FOTH” blog post from first time attendee Carl Little, or reflections ahead of the event by FOTH veteran Robert S. Collier Writing “Pitching Partnerships to Your Members of Congress” who has been 18 times!

FSG supported the talented Council on Foundations staff in preparations for the meeting by collecting information on Donor Advised Funds (DAFs). We shared data from over 230 community foundations as well as, for the first time, data from the three largest national DAF providers. We also mined over 100 stories of the work done through these funds in local communities.

One of the things I value about FSG is our determination to help not just individual organizations, but the field of philanthropy, focus on solving social problems - and we use data to do it. In collecting this information we learned that:

  • There are over 95,000 accounts held by individuals, families and organizations who give through Donor Advised Funds. Comparing this with the 76,000 grantmaking foundations in the United States shows that DAFs have significantly broadened participating in charitable giving.
  • Giving to Human Services was the biggest slice of grantmaking dollars with Education grants a close second – together accounting for 46% of the pie.
  • Most inspiring are the stories behind the numbers of work being done in communities – of individuals who help rebuild schools, support local nonprofits with not only dollars but expertise and of families determined to improve the immigrant experience for others.

If you were part of the Foundations on the Hill events – please share what you’ve observed and learned. And better yet, if you picked up our latest information on DAFs and shared with your lawmakers, we’d appreciate hearing from you!

For more on DAF’s check out: Community Foundations and Impact Investing of DAFs and Dollars that Respond—for Today and Tomorrow.

Eva Nico is a director at FSG. This post originally appeared on FSG’s Social Impact Blog

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