Donor Advised Funds: Giving Made Easy
Due to their ease, flexibility and tax advantages, donor advised funds (DAFs) have become the nation’s fastest-growing philanthropic tool and are a popular choice for OCF donors.
You establish a DAF with a sponsoring organization — such as OCF — and fund it with a donation of cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, mutual fund shares, business interests, retirement assets, life insurance and other types of assets. These assets grow tax-free while you make grants supporting the causes you care about most.
Here at OCF when you establish a DAF you get one-on-one service for the life of the donor advised fund. This might mean tailored information on issues or organizations that might be of interest to you for grantmaking to direct communication with our Fund Services and Philanthropic Advisors team members on donating different kinds of assets to your fund.
You can add to your DAF at any time — including through your estate plan — and you can recommend one-time or recurring grants to your favorite nonprofits as often as you like. “I've been a donor to probably over 50 charities over the years,” says OCF donor Bob Simons, who adds that his DAF “has helped me sort out and better organize my approach to giving.”
How DAFs can help you
With a DAF, you have the option to make a large donation now and grant those dollars out over time while growing the value of the fund, rather than writing many checks to separate nonprofit organizations each year. You can customize your giving to maximize your charitable goals with our help, and you can even appoint your friends or family members as advisors to the fund.
In terms of financial and estate planning, DAFs can offer significant tax advantages, which you should confirm with your professional advisors:
- Flexible tax deductions. When you contribute to your DAF, you generally take an immediate tax deduction for that year, even if the charities you support receive grants months or years later. In other words, you can take the deduction when it makes the best financial sense while remaining free to recommend grants when they’re needed most.
- Reduced capital gains tax. When you fund your DAF with appreciated assets you've held for more than a year, you can typically deduct the current market value. This extra tax savings leaves you with more funds for grantmaking.
- Reduced estate taxes. Making contributions to your DAF could significantly lower your taxable estate while also building your philanthropic legacy.
Estate planning. OCF gives you the option to name successor advisors, specify how your DAF should be used once your advisory period ends, or make an unrestricted gift that we will apply toward Oregon’s greatest needs. This is one of the most important ways OCF differs from most commercial DAF options.
Creating a DAF vs. a managing a family foundation
For donors who are considering – or managing– a family foundation, DAFs can be an attractive alternative. By eliminating the cost, administrative responsibilities and legal requirements of family foundations, DAFs give you the freedom to focus on giving. Take it from Lois Seed, who converted a family foundation to DAFs at OCF: “It was a relief to be able to turn all the management over to OCF and just let them take care of everything.”
How OCF can help you
DAFs are available from countless nonprofit and commercial sources with varying terms, fees, minimum amounts and services. But if you’re looking to maximize the power of your giving in Oregon, only OCF offers more than 50 years of connections, expertise, partnerships and demonstrable impacts in communities across our state. As donor Lucy Vinis says, “I look at this fund as my way of benefiting from OCF’s capacity to identify needs — to understand what’s happening locally and regionally, and where funds could be used in a way that would make a big difference.”
- Whether you’re a long-time donor or just getting started, our donor relations team is always ready to share expert advice on grantmaking strategies.
- Donor services reflect our unique commitment to open dialogue and deliberation, informed by decades of expertise and high-impact research projects in Oregon. “I like knowing what’s going on in my community and being part of the decision-making,” says OCF donor Bonnie Reagan. “I feel like I get expert help at every step of the way.”
- We can help you engage your family in multigenerational giving.
- We host events where you can meet other OCF donors, learn about critical issues across Oregon, and work together to make a lasting difference.
- If you’re interested in a specific nonprofit, we can set up a site visit so that you can better understand their work and their impact.
- With our socially responsible investment pool, your contributions can start having a positive impact even before you make your first grant.
How you can help Oregon
Combining a DAF’s flexibility with OCF’s unmatched knowledge of Oregon means you can respond swiftly to crises and opportunities—whether they affect the whole state or a specific community of concern. “We had the ability—because of the way our fund is structured—to step up,” says Eric Schamp, whose family gave almost $1 million in response to the pandemic and fires. “If we’d tried to do something on our own, that would’ve been very challenging. But OCF mobilized and made it easy.”
“OCF has facilitated the administration of our grants to programs which help reduce disparities that still exist due to discrimination,” adds Amador Bustos of Bustos Media, whose DAF has awarded grants to 43 organizations supporting Latino education, leadership, health and rights. “As persons of color, we have a profound sense of appreciation for the opportunities we’ve received and, therefore, feel a profound and unstoppable motivation to pay it forward.”
Ready to get started?
The minimum amount to fund a DAF at OCF is $25,000, or you can launch a step-up fund with as little as $5,000 and start recommending grants once your balance reaches the $25,000 minimum. To learn more, please contact your regional philanthropic advisor.