Don’t Forget There’s (usually) a Donor Behind that DAF Grant!

A core service of Community Foundations is providing donors with reliable and effective tools for their philanthropy – including management and investment of Donor-Advised Funds. Through these services we hear a lot from donors about their experiences in giving – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Recently, we got feedback from one of our Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) holders who shared: “I guess none of the groups that I’ve granted to actually need the money.” 
When asked why he felt that way, he replied:  “Not one of them has sent me a thank you letter.”
We were dumbfounded to hear that he’d never been thanked – and then wondered, why wouldn’t an organization think to thank the donor behind a DAF? 
Let’s break this down: Donor-Advised Fund. The donor, who has capacity, and a long-standing commitment to and belief in the power of philanthropy, advises, how and to where they would like their funds granted.
The donors behind DAFs establish and add to their funds for a variety of reasons, often tax related.  A large December bonus, a particularly profitable year for the business, or an inheritance can create the need for a large year-end charitable gift to help offset their tax bill.
Contributing to a DAF gives donors a timely charitable income tax deduction, and does not impose a hard deadline for them to make charitable grant recommendations. This kind of flexibility allows them to take their time and really consider where their gifts go.  So, why would recipients treat a donor differently based on the tax vehicle they use?  Similarly – why would recipients ignore donors giving through private or family foundations?
Furthermore, DAF donors give in amounts that are considered major gifts by most organizations.  So why not treat them – through thank you’s and other stewardship– as a prospect for future, potentially larger gifts?
Why not give it a try?  The only thing you have to gain is another loyal donor.
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