Instructions for Giving to GiveWell's Donor-Advised Fund

Making a gift to GiveWell's donor-advised fund

When to give to GiveWell's donor-advised fund

GiveWell uses a Vanguard Charitable donor-advised fund (DAF) to facilitate donations of certain types of appreciated securities and some other types of non-cash property for the support of GiveWell or our recommended charities. For example, donors who hold certain types of Vanguard mutual funds must donate them to our DAF because our primary brokerage platform (E*Trade) does not facilitate transfers of these assets. To verify whether a securities donation to GiveWell should be made to E*Trade or our DAF, please contact us at donations@givewell.org. Please note that Vanguard Charitable generally limits the size of donations to $5,000 or more.

Process for giving to GiveWell's DAF

When you contribute to GiveWell's DAF, you are giving to a fund held by Vanguard Charitable and advised by GiveWell. Your donation is tax deductible for the year in which it is made, and you will receive a receipt from Vanguard Charitable for tax purposes. Legal control of the funds belongs to Vanguard Charitable. Authority to recommend grants belongs to GiveWell.

Before you make your gift, please email us at donations@givewell.org to indicate how you would like your donation allocated. You can specify the Maximum Impact Fund, one or more of our top charities, or unrestricted support, which will either be used to support our operating expenses (most likely) or granted out to charities at our discretion. We will email you to confirm once the donation has been recorded in our account.

Because the vast majority of donations to the account are typically received in December, we generally recommend grants from our DAF once per year in February or March. You are welcome to request that we grant your donation on a different schedule.

Instructions for giving securities or cash to GiveWell's DAF

It is not necessary to create a Vanguard Charitable account to complete this process.

The minimum size for a donation is generally $5,000.

To make a donation, please complete this form (PDF version) and follow the below instructions.

Section 1: Enter A0881598 as the account number and "GiveWell" for the name of the account.
Section 2: If you are planning to send a check, mark the "Cash gift" box and fill out the information in Section 2e. (The check can be made out to "Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program" and you can put "GiveWell" on the memo line.) If you are planning to donate other types of assets, fill out the appropriate sections.
Section 3: Fill out this section.
Section 4: Fill out this section, if applicable.
Section 5: Check the box at the top of the section to keep the existing weighted account allocation.
Section 6: Fill out this section, if applicable.
Section 7: Read and sign the statement. Please note that it is our understanding that Vanguard requires a wet signature here (as opposed to digital).
Section 8: Instructions for transferring assets.

The form should be sent to Vanguard Charitable:

By email: donorservice@vanguardcharitable.org (Vanguard recommends encrypting the form and sharing the password with them.)
By U.S. mail: Vanguard Charitable, P.O. Box 9509, Warwick, RI 02889-9509
By registered, certified, or overnight mail: Vanguard Charitable, 2670 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI 02889-9509
By fax: 866-485-9414

Contributing to GiveWell's DAF versus selling securities and giving in cash

While there is some administrative cost to us to process Vanguard Charitable donations and we pay fees for using Vanguard Charitable (we are charged 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), we believe that gifts of securities are more cost-effective when made via the DAF rather than sold and donated as cash, because the administrative cost to us is small and our understanding is that donors may receive a tax advantage for donating appreciated securities (see more in our blog post on tax-efficient giving here). Please note that this should not be construed as legal or tax advice and donors should consult with a tax advisor for more information.

Vanguard Charitable official policies and guidelines

Vanguard Charitable’s policies and guidelines are available here.

Additional questions?

Please contact us at donations@givewell.org if you have any questions about making a contribution to our DAF.

Creating your own donor-advised fund

When to create a donor-advised fund

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

Popular DAF providers include Vanguard Charitable and Fidelity Charitable. Note that the platforms that provide donors with the ability to create DAFs typically require a large first-time contribution (e.g., a minimum contribution of $25,000 is required to start a Vanguard Charitable DAF).

Using a DAF to donate to GiveWell

Donors who hold funds in a DAF can recommend a grant to GiveWell (we are typically listed in DAF providers like Vanguard Charitable and Fidelity Charitable under our legal name, The Clear Fund). We ask that you include instructions for how we should allocate your gift among our top charities (or to GiveWell operating support) in the "purpose" or comment section of the grant form. If this isn't possible, you can let us know how you'd like your gift to be allocated by emailing donations@givewell.org.

Using a DAF to support GiveWell or our recommended charities with a non-cash donation

Donors may also contribute non-cash assets (such as appreciated securities, real property, or other in-kind donations, subject to the rules of the DAF provider) to a DAF, and the donation can be granted as cash to a charity. If you have a DAF and are interested in donating non-cash assets to GiveWell or our recommended charities, please contact your DAF provider (e.g., Vanguard Charitable or Fidelity Charitable) to verify whether they are able to accept this contribution. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions above to give certain assets through GiveWell's DAF.

Please note that the above is not tax, legal, or financial advice. Benefits may vary depending on your situation. We recommend speaking to your tax accountant, lawyer, or financial advisor for specific tax, legal, or financial advice for your situation.