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2022 Donor-Advised Fund Report: Grants to Charities Increase 28%, Surpassing $45 Billion for First Time

16TH annual report published by National Philanthropic Trust reveals grant value grew 60% compared to pre-pandemic 2019 and increased 400% over the past decade.

JENKINTOWN, Pa., November 15, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 2022 Donor-Advised Fund Report, the most comprehensive data on the state of donor-advised fund (DAF) philanthropy in the U.S., details growth in all key DAF metrics for the 12th consecutive year. The new report also reveals DAF grantmaking to charities around the world grew 60% compared to pre-pandemic 2019 and increased 400% over the past decade.

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The value of grants from DAFs to charities around the world increased 28.2% to $45.74 billion in 2021. Chart: National Philanthropic Trust (Graphic: Business Wire)

Value of grants from DAFs to charities around the world increased 28.2% to $45.74 billion, contributions to DAFs grew 46.6% to $72.67 billion, charitable assets increased 39.5% to $234.06 billion, the number of DAF accounts increased 27.6%, and the grantmaking payout rate grew to a record 27.3%.

"Global events like COVID-19 and the vaccine distribution, calls for racial justice, political unrest, supply chain challenges and its impact on the economy, and (then) a steep increase in the U.S. financial markets were some factors that motivated DAF donors to support causes important to them," said Eileen Heisman, CEO of National Philanthropic Trust. "This report notes the highest DAF payout rate on record. As well, it is remarkable to note that DAF grantmaking increased 400% during the past decade. Both points reaffirm DAF donors are actively supporting charities today and also can serve as sustainable sources of funding for the long-term."

Heisman continued, "Historically, when we experience material year-over-year increases in contributions, similar to this report’s findings, we see heightened and sustained grantmaking to charities the following years."

2022 Donor-Advised Fund Report Key Findings

- Value of grants from DAF accounts to qualified charities totaled $45.74 billion in 2021, a 28.2% increase from $35.68 billion in 2020. This represents the second year of philanthropic response to the pandemic and is an increase from the initial historic response in 2020. The 10-year average rate of grantmaking change from 2011 to 2020 is 17.5%. DAF grants to charities exceeded $45 billion for the first time in 2021.

- Contributions to DAF accounts totaled $72.67 billion in 2021, a 46.6% increase from $49.47 billion in 2020. This represents the highest growth on record. All contributions to DAFs are irrevocable and destined for qualified charities.

- Charitable assets in all DAF accounts totaled $234.06 billion in 2021, a 39.5% increase from $167.81 billion in 2020. The 10-year average growth rate of charitable assets from 2011 to 2020 is 17.7%. Continued growth of charitable assets under management reflects investment gains, growth in the number of DAFs, and contributions from donors.

- Number of DAF accounts in the U.S. totaled 1,285,801 in 2021, a 27.6% increase compared to 1,007,745 in 2020. The 10-year average rate of change from 2011 to 2020 is 20.1%. The emergence of workplace giving accounts, lower contribution minimums, and flexibility of DAFs contributed to this increase.

- Average DAF account size was $182,842 in 2021, a 9.0% increase compared to $167,748 in 2020. In the past five years, as stated earlier, new workplace giving DAFs and sponsoring organizations with no or low contribution minimums have attracted new donors at a large scale.

- The grant payout rate (a calculation of grantmaking dollars from DAFs to charities relative to total DAF charitable assets) increased to 27.3% in 2021, from 24.2% in 2020. This 12.7% increase is the highest payout rate on record and reflects billions of dollars DAFs granted to charities. The aggregate DAF grant payout rate has exceeded 20% for every year on record.

"More than one of every four DAF accounts was created in the last year," said Heisman. "DAFs attract more people to engage in philanthropy and provide a very useful and convenient giving vehicle. Without DAFs and the support they provide, DAF donors might be less inclined to convert complex assets, including appreciated stock and real estate, into mission-critical charitable funding."

Heisman continued, "DAFs are efficient, provide access to easy online giving, and help donors quickly respond to causes such as community needs and global disasters. The next generation of active philanthropists are choosing DAFs to support what means most to them."

The full 2022 Donor-Advised Fund Report, which includes a comparison by charitable sponsor types, is available at no charge or login requirement. Content attribution: National Philanthropic Trust, NPTrust.org.

DAF Report Methodology

The DAF Report, the most extensive and current examination of DAF philanthropy, primarily uses data from IRS Form 990 filings to provide the most up-to-date and reliable analysis of the DAF sector. The 2022 report examined 995 charitable organizations that sponsor donor-advised funds, including national charities, community foundations and other sponsoring charities.

DAF Report History

The Donor-Advised Fund Report has been published by National Philanthropic Trust as a public service since 2006. The report began as a two-page analysis of 10 DAF sponsors. Today, the annual report compiles data from almost 1,000 DAF sponsors using the most extensive methodology, developed by an independent team of data editors and researchers. The report is recognized as the preeminent source for DAF sector data.

About National Philanthropic Trust
Founded in 1996, National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) is the largest national, independent public charity that manages donor-advised funds and one of the leading grantmaking institutions in the U.S. Since its founding, NPT has raised more than $40.5 billion in charitable funding and has made more than 541,000 grants exceeding $21.0 billion to nonprofits around the world. Visit NPT’s resource library to learn what you can do with a DAF and about NPT impact investing solutions. More at NPTrust.org and NPTGivingPoint.org.

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Richard Virgilio