The National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) has published The 2019 DAF Report, their 13th annual report giving us up-to-date information on donor-advised funds for the fiscal 2018 year. The report states that for the ninth year in a row donor-advised funds have grown across all key metrics, including the total number of individual funds, total grant dollars given to charitable organizations, total contributions to donor-advised funds, and total charitable assets held in them.

Key findings from the report show that:

    • Contributions to donor-advised funds increased by 20.1% to $37.12 billion
    • Charitable assets in donor-advised funds grew from 8.3% to $121.42 billion
    • Grant payout from donor-advised funds to charities grew 18.9% to an estimated $23.42 billion
    • The number of individual donor-advised fund accounts grew 55.2% to 728,563

The sharp increase in the number of accounts can partially be explained by “the emergence of workplace giving donor-advised fund accounts and sponsoring organizations that have no or low contribution minimums.”

As recently reported by Giving USA, estimated charitable contributions in the United States totaled $427.71 billion in 2018, a 0.7% increase from 2017. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, this total was either impressively flat in a year of volatile economic conditions and the recently changed tax law, or it was a disappointing year that didn’t see the continued impressive growth of the previous few years.

The numbers from the National Philanthropic Trust show that donor-advised funds continued to grow during this time and, as such, are a growing part of individual giving. Referencing the Giving USA figures, the report states that contributions to donor-advised funds accounted for 12.7% of individual giving in 2018, up from 10.5% in 2017.

The report concludes by saying that there is currently no reason to think that this growth will stop in 2020.


Read more about the Giving USA 2019 report.