NPT-UK Releases Annual UK Donor-Advised Fund Report

Author John Canady, Chief Executive Officer

November 29, 2018

The 2018 UK Donor-Advised Fund Report reveals grants from donor-advised fund (DAF) accounts in the UK to qualified charities grew 15 per cent to a record £319.2, increasing the payout rate to 30 per cent. Contributions reached an all-time high, increasing 36 per cent to £481.1 million, with total charitable assets rising 24 per cent to £1.3 billion. DAFs have become one of the fastest growing giving vehicles, used by philanthropists in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

First established in the UK in the 1970’s, DAFs are a philanthropic vehicle that function much like a charitable savings account and are sponsored by a charitable organisation. Donors make an irrevocable charitable contribution to their DAF account, receive immediate tax relief and then recommend grants from their DAF over time. We publish the UK Donor-Advised Fund Report annually as a public service to provide insight into the growing area of UK DAF philanthropy.

The report’s findings reaffirm DAFs are the modern tool of philanthropy in the UK. DAF sponsors take care of the compliance, management and administration, enabling donors to focus on giving, be it in the UK or around the world. Contributions to DAFs, all of which are destined for charitable purposes, have grown 142 per cent since 2013. Advisors, including lawyers and accountants, are recognizing and recommending DAFs because they eliminate many of the burdens of operating a separate charitable entity. Advisors’ adoption of DAFs has contributed to their historic growth. Beyond financial contributions, we are seeing donations of private equity interests and other illiquid assets. Last year we saw donors convert these complex assets into mission-critical funding for youth art programs, and aid for families in war-torn countries.

For the fifth year, there were record benchmarks in every key data point. 2018 UK Donor-Advised Fund Report’s key findings include:

↑ Charitable assets in DAF accounts totalled more than £1.32 billion in 2017, a 24 per cent increase compared to £1.06 billion in 2016. This represents the fastest year-over-year growth in the last five years. The increase is a result of both contributions and gains from investment returns.

↑ Grants from DAFs to charitable organisations totalled £319.2 million, a 15 per cent increase compared to £276.9 million in 2016. This is the largest total grant amount in the last five years.

↑ Contributions to DAF accounts totalled £481.1 million, a 36 per cent increase compared to £353.6 million in 2016. This is an all-time high and represents a faster growth rate than previous years.

For more information, read the 2018 UK Donor-Advised Fund Report here.