What is a DAF and How DoTopia is Different

A popular philanthropy trend in the last 30 years has been the growing use of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs). Gaining more visibility in the 1990’s, Donor Advised Funds continue to increase and have, most recently, become philanthropy’s fastest growing giving outlet.

The National Philanthropic Trust defines a Donor Advised Fund, or DAF, as a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity. It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. In 2015, DAFs accounted for more than $22.6 Billion in contributions or 8.4% of total U.S. giving (2015 Donor Advised Fund Report).

So why the increase in popularity? Besides the obvious tax benefits, Donor Advised Funds are easier for the user to manage. Financial institutions have been able to utilize online platforms which make giving simple and efficient. It has also created a transparent connection between charity and donor.

While we are supporters of all types of giving, there are some drawbacks to the DAF model:

  1. Dollars stored by the 270,000 individual funders can sit for years, if not for decades, instead of being donated to charities who need the funding to make an immediate impact.
  2. DAFs are not accessible to all givers as they are too expensive for most people. Traditional DAFs require a minimum initial contribution of $5,000 to $50,000.
  3. Discrepancy around what year the taxpayer deducts the donation without requiring the charity to receive the money.

What these drawbacks create is the perception that DAFs are used as tax shelters by some individuals.  

DoTopia’s DAF takes this philanthropic medium to the next level.

Instead of continuing to accumulate over $80 billion (current amount of charitable dollars in DAFs), DoTopia has a different idea. We believe the time for action is now. We advocate, facilitate and celebrate individual acts of giving through immediate and lasting impact with our powerful giving platform. Don’t take our word for it though. Jeff Bezos recently made headlines by asking his Twitter followers how they would maximize his philanthropic impact. His one requirement? The idea must call for immediate action to help people in the here and now. We are on your team, Jeff.

DoTopia’s mission is to be the most trusted, thus the most active, platform in giving. Our givers, which we call DoTopians, are encouraged to be active givers by either directing the funds or gifting to over 1.6 million charities OR gifting charitable dollars to other individuals to allow them to direct the funds with DoDollars.  

Most importantly, our Personal Giving Accounts are free (that’s right, no one time cost or user fees!). We welcome all to set up their free Personal Giving Account, become a DoTopian, and start making the world a better place. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Sign up for your own personal giving account.
  2. Search and select the charitable organization of your choice to give.
  3. Choose the amount and donate.

Our PGA’s operate as the “every person’s” foundation and include all the added benefits of a DAF: ease of use, setting giving goals, and keeping record of all donations for tax purposes.

But why stop there?

We take giving one step farther than the commercial DAFs (such as Fidelity and VanGuard) and leverage our giving platform to create lasting relationships through the joy of giving. We believe in the power of the individual and by focusing on the purpose of individuals, DoTopia helps charities reach their donors and brands reach their most valued assets, employees and customers.

More Givers, Giving More. That’s why we’re here.


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