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Instructions for Giving to GiveWell's Donor Advised Fund

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 operating support.

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

  1. You donate to a fund held by GiveWell through Vanguard Charitable. Your donation is tax deductible for the year in which you make it and you will receive a receipt from Vanguard Charitable for your tax purposes.
  2. Legal control of the funds belongs to Vanguard Charitable. Authority to recommend grants belongs to GiveWell. GiveWell will recommend a grant based on your preference. You may indicate your preference by sending an email to letting us know how you'd like your donation to be allocated after Vanguard Charitable decides to grant funds at GiveWell's recommendation (e.g., unrestricted funding to support GiveWell's operations, for granting to our recommended charities at GiveWell's discretion, for a specific charity or charities we recommend, or some combination thereof). If you do not indicate how you would like your donation to be designated once Vanguard Charitable grants funds from the donor-advised fund at GiveWell's recommendation (e.g., to our recommended charities), your donation will be treated as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or to grant to recommended charities.
  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 fill out this form.
  4. Vanguard Charitable charges a total of 0.70% per year on assets held on the fund (0.60% administrative fees and 0.10% 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 Make a Contribution form, linked from this page (under "Contribute to your account").
    • Section 1: enter A0881598 as the account number and "GiveWell" for the name of the account. Also, check the "Individuals" box and fill out your contact information immediately below.
    • Section 2: If you are planning to send a check, mark the "Check" box and fill out the information in section 2f. If you are planning to donate other types of assets, fill out the appropriate sections.
    • Section 3: Check the box at the top of the section to keep the existing weighted account allocation.
    • Section 5: Read and sign the statement.
    • Make out a check to the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program (if applicable) and put "GiveWell" in the memo.
  • Mailing or faxing: The form should be sent to Vanguard Charitable at:

    Vanguard Charitable
    P.O. Box 9509
    Warwick, RI 02889-9509
    FAX: 866-485-9414

Recommending a grant

Once you have decided which charity you'd like to support, please let us know by emailing and we will recommend a grant to the charity you select. As noted above, donations without designations will be treated as unrestricted funding.

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

Vanguard Charitable’s policies and guidelines are available here.

What if I have other questions?

Please contact us.