What is a donor advised fund?

A donor advised fund allows the donor to make a contribution and receive a tax deduction at the time of the gift before choosing the eventual recipient of the funds. Therefore donors who wish to make a tax-deductible donation now but are not yet sure which charity they want to support may find the donor advised fund useful.

In addition, GiveWell uses the donor advised fund to facilitate non-cash donations (such as appreciated stock) to our recommended charities and receive non-cash donations for unrestricted support.

How do the mechanics of grant recommendation and tax receipt work?

  1. You donate to a fund held by GiveWell through the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program. Your donation is tax deductible for the year in which you make it; you will receive a receipt from the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program.
  2. Legal control of the funds belongs to the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program. Authority to recommend grants belongs to GiveWell. GiveWell will recommend a grant based on your preference.
  3. The minimum size for a donation is $5,000. (GiveWell can also receive stock (including donations worth less than $5,000) through our E*trade brokerage account; interested donors should email info@givewell.org for details.)
  4. Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program charges a total of 0.71% per year on assets held on the fund (0.60% administrative fees and 0.11% for the Money Market pool in which assets are held - details here).
  5. To make a donation, you must complete the forms and paperwork detailed below.

How do I make a gift to GiveWell's donor advised fund?

Donations to GiveWell's donor advised fund must be at least $5,000 in size.

  • Fill out the Additional Gift Agreement Form, linked here (PDF).
    1. Section 1: enter Program Account Number A0881598 and "GiveWell" for the name of the program account.
    2. Section 2: Check the "Individuals" box and fill out your contact information immediately below.
    3. Section 3: If you are planning to send a check, check the "Check" box and enter the amount directly to the right. If you are planning to donate other securities, fill out the appropriate sections.
    4. Section 4: Check the box to keep the existing weighted account allocation.
    5. Section 6: Read and sign the statement.
    6. Make out a check to the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program (if applicable) and put "GiveWell" in the memo.
  • For stock and mutual fund donations: If you plan to donate appreciated stock or mutual fund shares:
    • If you are planning to gift stock that is not held at Vanguard brokerage services, please also complete the Delivery Instructions for Securities form.
    • If you are planning to gift mutual fund shares or stock held at Vanguard brokerage services, no additional form is necessary.
  • Mailing or faxing: The form should be sent to the Vanguard Charitable Endowment at

    Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program
    P.O. Box 55766
    Boston, MA 02205-5766
    FAX: 866-485-9414

Recommending a grant

Once you have decided which charity you'd like to support, please let us know and we will recommend a grant to the charity you select.

Where can I read the fund's official policies and guidelines?

The Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program's policies and guidelines are available here (PDF).

What if I have other questions?

Please contact us.