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A Simplified Tax Season and Other Benefits of Giving through a Donor Advised Fund

Donor Advised Funds, or DAFs, are enormously popular charitable giving vehicles that are known for their ease and flexibility. Through a DAF, donors can make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants from the fund over time. Thousands of individuals, families, and businesses have established DAFs at The Columbus Foundation to streamline their giving and maximize their impact.

There are many benefits to establishing a Donor Advised Fund:

  1. Simplified tax season: If your clients give regularly to multiple nonprofits—whether it’s their alma mater, house of worship, or other favorite charities—they might benefit from streamlining their giving through a DAF. By using a DAF, they’re able to make one gift into their fund and have just one receipt come tax time. They can then use their DAF to grant to any 501(c)(3) public charity operating anywhere. No more boxes full of receipts come tax season—just one tax receipt for the gift into the DAF.
  2. Maximized community impact: The Columbus Foundation can help donors design a giving strategy that creates a meaningful impact. Our team of community experts can also help your clients assess charitable investment opportunities and connect with the people, causes, and needs that align with their passions. Additionally, by working with The Columbus Foundation, donors become part of a community of givers that benefits from access to services, events, and shared knowledge that are simply not available through commercial gift funds.
  3. Ability to engage others in philanthropy: DAFs are a great tool for individuals who want to involve others in charitable giving. Donors can structure formal or informal consulting teams consisting of children or grandchildren, employees, or friends to discuss causes and advise on grantmaking.
  4. Take advantage of tax strategies: There are tax advantages to donating appreciated securities or property to a DAF, as well as to selling assets that are down and donating cash. DAFs also make it possible for your clients to “bundle” giving into one year for a charitable tax deduction, gain the maximum tax benefit, and then suggest grants out of that fund gradually over time, so they can continue to provide consistent support to their favorite charities while taking maximum advantage of their charitable deduction. This technique has been increasingly attractive since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) nearly doubled the standard deduction back in 2017. Additionally, DAFs are not subject to estate taxes.
  5. Charitable dollars can be invested and grown: Clients can contribute to their fund when it is financially advantageous, choose how their fund is invested, then leverage invested assets to sustain giving over time—and their fund’s investment growth is completely tax-free.
  6. Streamlined giving: By centralizing charitable giving, your clients can manage all of their giving from one convenient account. The Columbus Foundation’s online fund management tool, The Giving Store, enables donors to recommend grants to their favorite nonprofits, access statements, and review gift and grant histories 24/7. They get to focus on the joys of giving, while we handle the administrative tasks—investment, grant processing, provision of financial reports, etc. 
  7. Ability to donate complex assets: Donors can contribute to their fund using a broad range of assets, including cash, publicly traded securities, mutual funds, real estate, and business interests. Some nonprofits don’t have the capacity to accept gifts of complex assets, but they’ll have no trouble accepting grants from your client’s DAF.
  8. Low cost: Since The Columbus Foundation works on a large scale of investments, we are able to pass those savings on to our donors. 
  9. Easy to establish: Setting up your DAF is quick and simple. All you need to do is connect with one of our team members to get started!

The Columbus Foundation offers DAFs for individuals at every stage of their charitable giving journey—whether they’re just getting started in philanthropy, looking to expand their giving, or planning to engage future generations in giving.

As always, we’re here to help make your client’s giving effective and easy. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of establishing a DAF at The Columbus Foundation or if you have any other questions about charitable giving strategies.

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation serves thousands of individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. The Columbus Foundation is Your Trusted Philanthropic Advisor® and is one of the top ten largest community foundations in the country.


Apr 10, 2023



Hilary Stone, MBA, is the Senior Advisor for Donor Services at The Columbus Foundation.