What is a donor advised fund?

A donor advised fund allows individuals, families and businesses to simplify and streamline their charitable giving. By establishing a tax-deductible donor advised endowment with NCCF, you can centralize all your charitable giving through one cost-effective and expertly managed fund. Charitable giving is made easy, flexible and rewarding.

Donor advised funds can take one of three forms: one is endowed for long-term growth; and two provide the option to grant without percentage limitations.

  • Endowed: The fund is invested for long-term growth, and the amount available for annual grantmaking is 5%. Minimum opening balance: $25,000. Administrative fee: 1%. NCCF’s most popular option, this type of fund is ideal for donors seeking a long-term giving vehicle or permanent legacy.
  • Invested gift fund: The fund enjoys the option of investment growth and the flexibility of grantmaking with no percentage limitations. Minimum opening balance: $100,000. (Must also retain $100,000 in account.) Administrative fee: 1%. This fund type is ideal for donors who have a long-term distribution plan with the option of investment growth and the flexibility to grant without percentage limitations.
  • Non-endowed gift fund: The fund is not invested, but is held in a cash account pending short-term disbursement. Minimum opening balance: $10,000. (Must also retain $10,000 in account.) Administrative fee: 1%. This fund type is ideal for donors having short-term giving horizons.

Value and benefits

Flexible giving: A donor advised endowment is the perfect vehicle to address both your immediate charitable interests and also future goals, allowing for changes over the years. With this type of fund, you’re not tied down to any one charitable organization or giving pattern.

Create a legacy: Grants from your fund are always made in the name of your fund, unless you choose anonymity. Many fundholders choose to involve family members in grantmaking considerations to promote philanthropy in future generations. Successor advisors may also be named to shepherd the fund, continuing the tradition of giving through the years.

Community impact: Businesses looking for a way to give back to the community can establish a donor advised fund and appoint an employee committee to research and recommend charitable grants. In addition, Foundation staff can serve as your charitable giving resource, providing expertise and due diligence to help you make wise grant recommendations and leverage the impact of your gifts.

Tax deductibility: A donor advised fund allows you to contribute to the fund, receive a tax deduction during the donation year and consider grants from the fund immediately or over time. Donor advised funds operate much like a private foundation – without the start-up and ongoing administrative expenses and tax-reporting requirements. In addition, a donor advised fund offers better tax deductibility for gifts.

Accountability: You will receive quarterly fund statements that report all activity, including the fund balance, grants made, additional gifts received, investment returns and administrative fees.

Administrative ease and cost-effectiveness: Donor advised funds typically have lower operational costs than private foundations. The NCCF provides fund maintenance, grant-making assistance and due diligence, record-keeping, investment oversight and tax reporting to the IRS ─ all for a simple low fee. There are no start-up charges to begin a donor advised fund.

Professional services: A fund established with NCCF is subject to our investment policies and will be administered by professional investment managers selected by the Foundation’s Finance Committee. Funds are pooled for investment purposes, all helping to maximizing earning potential.