10 Ways to Engage with Donor-Advised Fund Donors to Encourage Longterm Support

Engaging donors is an important part of securing continual support for nonprofits. However, understanding DAFs (donor-advised funds) and connecting with those donors can be challenging. Engaging with DAF donors is integral to a well-rounded fundraising strategy that can lead to long-term support. These intentional donors want to make a positive impact, so it’s important for fundraisers to know how to identify, engage, and grow their DAF donor base. 

Understanding Donor-Advised Funds

A DAF is a philanthropic vehicle that allows donors to make charitable contributions. Donors receive an immediate tax benefit and recommend grants to nonprofits from the fund over time. This approach to giving has surged in popularity and has remained a steady source of giving despite fluctuations in the economy. DAFs enable donors to be flexible with their giving, support multiple organizations from one fund, and more. 

Workplace giving programs typically utilize DAFs to facilitate employee giving, which is usually accompanied by a corporate match. This initiative supports a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts and enables employees to easily contribute to their favorite nonprofits regularly. These programs, which almost 27 million Americans have access to, simplify the donation process for employees through automatic payroll deductions. When fundraisers establish accounts on free workplace-giving platforms, like NPOconnect, engaged donors can search for and select the nonprofit they want to donate to. 

How to find Donor-Advised Fund Donors in Giving Platforms

Some fundraisers believe it’s impossible to identify contact information for donors who use DAFs for charitable contributions. According to the 2024 National Study on Donor Advised Funds, 3.7% of DAF donations are anonymous, equating to 8.7% of money donated from DAFs. While it’s true that some DAF donors choose to remain anonymous, most opt to share their information. While it isn’t often predominantly displayed, you can access contact details with just a few extra clicks. For example, on NPOconnect, fundraisers can navigate to Giving > Payments and Transactions > Payments. There, you’ll see a table with a list of donations. To view the transactions associated with each payment, select the green arrow icon to find the contact information for each donor who opted to share their contact information.

Strategies for Engaging DAF Donors

To effectively engage DAF donors, fundraisers should use targeted strategies that resonate with donors’ unique preferences and giving behaviors. 

  1. Review the data in your CRM systems to understand the DAF donations you are already receiving. This data-driven strategy ensures that your outreach is focused and impactful. 
  2. Personalized outreach is key; consider leveraging insights from existing DAF donors to tailor your communications. Remember, a DAF gift received means the donor has already intentionally chosen you. Recognize them for who they are. 
  3. Building a strong online presence to showcase your mission, vision, impact, etc., clearly on your website and social media so current and potential DAF donors understand what you’re trying to achieve and can easily find more information about your nonprofit.
  4. Engage DAF donors with storytelling to showcase the tangible impact of their contributions. Provide clear, concise, and inspiring information on how their donations will support specific initiatives and further your impact to achieve your mission. This could include impact reports, testimonials, project proposals, and more. 
  5. Ensure you have a strong presence on giving platforms like NPOconnect.for workplace giving and Candid for national DAFs like Fidelity. These platforms reach donors who are actively looking for nonprofits that align with their values. Ensuring these platforms have current information and offer valuable, compelling stories can help increase the likelihood of a donor selecting your organization to support through their workplace giving programs. 
  6. If you know that a company offers a workplace giving program, contact the company to establish a relationship with them. Creating relationships with companies and their employees will help potential DAF donors understand your organization and be more inclined to donate to support your cause.
  7. Facilitate corporate volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are often more likely to donate to the nonprofits they volunteer for, so creating volunteer events can be a beneficial fundraising strategy. 
  8. Ensure your platforms clearly outline how DAF donors can contribute to your organization. Providing step-by-step donation instructions can make the process seamless and remove potential barriers to giving. 
  9. Encouraging DAF donors to provide feedback and involve them in discussions about future projects to make them feel like an integral part of your mission.
  10. Recognizing and celebrating DAF donors to acknowledge their significant impact on your mission will show appreciation for their support and motivate other DAF donors to take action. 

Navigating the world of DAFs and engaging with these donors is an important step toward achieving your nonprofit’s goals. When fundraisers understand DAFs well, tailor outreach, and establish meaningful connections, they can expand their donor base and build a community of dedicated supporters to help them achieve their mission. 

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