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Donor-advised funds (DAFs) have been a growth engine for community foundations since the 1990s, but the aspiration today is for DAFs to do more. Data and analysis of donor behavior reveals significant untapped strategic value in community foundation DAFs. Do More Than Grow is based on research performed in 2011 that looked into 31 community foundations over 12 years, with a sample representing approximately one-third of the DAF assets held by all community foundations.

Top Takeaways

  1. Community foundation donor-advised fund assets have grown rapidly, and so has community foundation DAF grantmaking, but community foundations have not always been clear in how they should respond to the growth of the DAF market.
  2. There is a gap between aspirations held by community foundations and the reality of current practices with respect to DAF.
  3. When a community foundation is clear about strategic value, it can differentiate itself from other DAF providers, make tradeoffs between different possible aspirations, align policies and practices with goals, and be selective about which donors to pursue and target for relationship building.
The story of donor-advised funds at community foundations is one of great growth and value to communities, but also one of significant unrealized potential and questions about how they contribute to goals for community impact.

This report was created by CF Insights, an initiative of FSG from 2007-2014. In 2015, CF Insights became part of Foundation Center.