December 16, 2022


There are now more than 1.2 million Donor Advised Funds (DAF) accounts that have a total of $234 billion in assets that can only be used for charitable purposes.

That is not only a tremendous amount of money but a whopping opportunity for public media to take this moment to demonstrate how much good can be done by making gifts to stations.

The newly published 2022 DAF report from National Philanthropic Trust, which gives us the clearest picture of DAF assets, shows a 39.5% increase in assets from 2020 to 2021. Why is this important to your station? Because there are now more donors using DAFs and more money waiting to be distributed, 2023 is an excellent time to make a greater push for your station to be a recipient.

With inflation and stock market volatility there are likely to be major and mid-level donors in your organization who feel cash-poor; they may not want to make a cash donation because they’re waiting for the market to rebound. But assets they have inside a DAF can only be given to charity, so there’s no reason to wait. You just need to show them what they can make happen by recommending a gift to your station.

Even with the increase in assets, last year only 27.3% of DAF assets from the previous year were granted. So there’s still quite a lot of money not being put to use to help strengthen our communities.

The folks who have DAF accounts are already committed to the idea of philanthropy, they have funds available to give and if they also have a connection with your station it makes them phenomenal prospects. But they aren’t all exceedingly high-net-worth individuals and families so it’s important to build a full picture of each donor you work with who is using DAFs so you understand what is important to them about your mission.

So what do you need to do then?

  1. Talk about DAF giving to your station, use all your communication channels to make it very clear that your station is ready and excited to accept DAF gifts and put them to good use. 

  2. Be an excellent steward of donors who use or have used DAF distributions to your station. The majority of DAF gifts are not anonymous, so send your thank-yous right away and keep these donors in the fold with engagement and cultivation activities. 

  3. Make sure your donor services staff know and understand DAF giving and can assist donors with questions.
  4. Update your organization profile on charity rating sites. Many DAF sponsors link to these profiles and you want your information to be accurate and compelling.

For more tools and resources related to DAF gifts, check out Greater Public’s DAF Toolkit.