Your financial and charitable goals are a reflection of your commitment to support the future of your loved ones, charitable organizations you value, such as the American Museum of Natural History, and the greater community. But sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of the organizations you wish to support and the documents required to receive your benefits from charitable gifts. A convenient and easy way to organize your charitable intentions is to create a donor advised fund. Consider it one-stop giving.
A donor advised fund (DAF) gives you the flexibility to recommend how much and how often money is granted to the American Museum of Natural History and other charities. You transfer cash or other assets to a community foundation, financial services firm, or other sponsoring organization. You can then recommend—but not direct—how much and how often money is granted.
Setting up a DAF qualifies you for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you make a gift to the fund—without immediately having to choose the charities you want to support. If you so choose, you can support a number of charitable organizations without having to retain records for a number of separate contributions.
Donors enjoy a certain level of privacy, having the option to keep donations anonymous. These funds are flexible — you can add to the fund at any time, and you don’t need to have a specific purpose for each gift. And again, the funds offer the simplicity of keeping a multitude of philanthropic activities organized in one stream of documentation and finances.
Where to find donor advised funds.
Begin with your local community foundation and nonprofit organizations. Financial services firms also offer a growing number of national donor advised funds.
Evaluate the sponsoring organization carefully.
When you make a gift to a donor advised fund you irrevocably give away your money or property. Make sure the organization you select is one that supports your values.
Understand the fund’s policies and procedures.
Minimum contributions, as well as the amount and frequency of grant recommendations, all vary depending upon the sponsoring organization.
Consider costs and investment results.
All donor advised funds charge administrative fees that can vary considerably. In addition, investment performance will vary from one donor advised fund to the next, affecting the amount that will actually be distributable to a charitable organization.
Because these funds are managed, they have administrative fees. There are also minimums for establishing a fund, with possible minimums for future donations. You also retain less control than other gift vehicles, as donations are irrevocable. And you can only recommend distributions to the managing organization, you cannot direct them.
Turn your DAF into a lasting legacy at the Museum by naming us as a full or partial beneficiary when you create the fund, or contact your fund administrator to complete a change form. For detailed information, please contact us.
Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. California residents: Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. Oklahoma residents: A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. South Dakota residents: Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance. A copy of our most recently filed financial report is available on our website (https://www.amnh.org/about/financial-statements) or, upon request, by contacting us at 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024.