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Donor-Advised Fund Grants Increased by 9% in 2022

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The value of donor-advised-fund grantmaking to charitable organizations increased by 9% to $52.2 billion in 2022, and the number of accounts grew by 2.9% to 1,948,545, National Philanthropic Trust reported this week.

“Donors increased the value of their grant recommendations for the 13th consecutive year despite the decrease in overall and individual charitable giving as well as the losses in the three main U.S. market indexes and record inflation,” NPT’s chief executive Eileen Heisman said in a statement, citing GivingUSA

Heisman noted that since DAF donors pre-fund their giving with irrevocable contributions, grantmaking from their giving vehicles to charitable organizations is not as correlated to financial markets and individual household economic volatility. 

“We believe we are seeing a ‘new normal’ for DAFs, meaning a return to the more modest historical growth rates than the growth we saw during the height of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021,” she said. “DAF donors recommended 9% more grant dollars than their previous historic high-water mark in 2021.” 

The annual DAF report primarily uses data from IRS Form 990 filings to provide the most up-to-date and reliable analysis of the DAF sector. The 2023 report examined 1,151 charitable organizations that sponsor DAFs, including national charities, community foundations and other sponsoring charities. 

The five-year history data file includes records from 1,295 DAF sponsors that operated during at least some of the period since 2007.

Key Findings

DAF grantmaking has grown every year since 2009 and increased by 119% in the past five years, according to the report. This is the first year that total grants from DAFs exceeded $50 billion.  

Contributions to DAF accounts totaled $85.5 billion in 2022, a 9% year-over-year increase. Contributions to DAFs are irrevocable and destined for qualified charities, NPT noted.

Charitable assets in all DAF accounts totaled $228.9 billion in 2022, down by 1.1% from a year earlier. NPT said this slight decline in charitable assets under management owed in part to the constricting of global financial markets during 2022. 

According to the report, the 2.9% increase in the number of DAF accounts in the United States was driven by growing interest in workplace-giving accounts, lower contribution minimums and the flexibility of DAFs contributed.

In 2022, the average DAF account size was $117,466, down from $122,162 in 2021. NPT put this decrease down to new workplace-giving models, growth in the popularity of high-volume DAF account sponsors and market volatility.

The grant payout rate (a calculation of grantmaking dollars from DAFs to charities relative to total DAF charitable assets) last year decreased to 22.5% from 28.7% in 2021. This decrease follows the two years of highest payout rates on record in 2020 and 2021. The aggregate DAF grant payout rate has exceeded 20% for every year on record. 


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