Giving With Fidelity Charitable Donor-Advised Funds Rose 27 Percent in First 9 Months of 2014
(Press release, Oct. 23, 2014) — Donor-recommended grants from Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program, achieved record levels in the first nine months of 2014. In addition, enhancements to the organization’s program are speeding the delivery of grant money to charitable recipients and simplifying the process for donors to make multiple grant recommendations.
In the first nine months of 2014, Fidelity Charitable made more than 370,000 donor-recommended grants totaling $1.6 billion, a 27 percent increase from the same period in 2013. The grants supported more than 70,000 charities across all 50 states and a wide range of charitable sectors.
The record grants reflect both planned giving by donors and responses to unanticipated and urgent needs, including relief efforts for the Ebola epidemic. Year to date, $3.8 million has been granted at the recommendation of donors with more than 500 grants specifically referencing Ebola. This is in addition to ongoing support by some donors who were recommending grants for health care improvement in West Africa prior to the epidemic. Donors looking for guidance on how to support the Ebola relief efforts can learn more at http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/about-us/news/09-30-2014.shtml.
"Our donors are highly engaged in their philanthropy, and it is their generosity that drove our record granting," said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable. "The fast pace of grant making early in the year may be a promising sign as the year-end giving season-a key fundraising period for charities and when about 40 percent of our donor-recommended grants are made-gets underway."
In addition, contributions to Fidelity Charitable donor-advised funds rose 57 percent in the nine-month period. The majority of contributions were appreciated assets, including publicly traded securities and private capital assets, as the strong markets through the third quarter boosted their value, making them attractive assets to use to fund philanthropy.
Grants Get to Charities Faster
Charities can now choose to receive grants from Fidelity Charitable via electronic funds transfer within 24 hours instead of receiving grants through the mail. The more than 550 charities that have signed up benefit from faster delivery of grant money, which allows them to acknowledge Fidelity Charitable donors more quickly. Charities also spend less time and fewer resources on processing and depositing checks.
"Moving to electronic funds transfer through Fidelity Charitable is a win-win for our donors and the Red Cross," said Neal Litvack, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. "Electronic funds transfer provides our donors with an efficient way to give, enables the Red Cross to quickly receive and acknowledge donations, and lowers our costs for processing donations."
Additionally, Fidelity Charitable has streamlined the online grant recommendation process to reduce the time and effort required for donors making repeat grant recommendations to multiple charities. On average, donors recommend eight grants a year from their donor-advised fund and over 75 percent of donors have recommended multiple grants to a charity. The new donor experience will become available on November 8.
"As grant levels rise, we continue to leverage technology to best support the charities that receive grant money and simplify the recommendation process for donors," said Danforth. "Applying technology to philanthropy is one way we accomplish our mission to make charitable giving simple and effective."