Donor-advised funds, whose popularity as charitable giving vehicles has surged in recent years, are on a roll. Fidelity Charitable, the largest provider of DAFs in the U.S., on Wednesday reported a record-breaking 30% increase in contributions for the first half of 2011.
The public charity, formerly known as the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, took in $512 million in new charitable dollars, up from $457 million in the same 2010 period. Outgoing grants set a first-half record as well, with more than 170,000 totaling $604 million going to nonprofit groups nationwide, increases of 12% and 14%, respectively, from the first six months of 2010.
“This is record-breaking activity for this time in the year, and it reinforces that donors are starting their charitable planning earlier, and that more are recognizing the benefits of donor-advised funds,” Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement.
The total number of DAFs in the U.S. has grown by some 51% since 2005, the statement said, citing a report from National Philanthropic Trust. DAFs now outnumber private foundations by more than two to one.