Individuals and couples without children are increasingly recognizing the benefits of donor-advised funds, often with the help of their financial advisors.Consider these six ways donor-advised funds can be used in these unique scenarios:

  1. Timed Funding
  • Most donor-advised funds are established now and funded throughout the client’s lifetime.
  • Others establish a donor-advised fund now but contribute to it later or at death.
  1. Timed Distribution
  • Rather than depending on heirs, establishing a donor-advised fund with a disposition plan can recommend grants be made to specific charities upon the donor’s death.
  1. Privacy
  • Many donors create a donor-advised fund to remain anonymous to charities during their lifetime and avoid solicitation.
  • Those same donors may wish to remain anonymous in their posthumous giving. Or, they may wish to leave a legacy that lives on. A donor-advised fund can do both.
  1. Impact
  • Some couples use donor-advised funds to give over time to avoid making large gifts to any one organization.
  • Others use the fund to recommend one or more large gifts after death.
  1. Minimize Taxes, Maximize Charity
  • Some donors name their donor-advised fund as beneficiary of their individual retirement account (IRA) and leave other assets to heirs. This often leaves more to both heirs and charity.
  1. Legacy
  • Many couples or individuals without children name siblings, other heirs or friends as successor advisors to their donor-advised fund.
  • Occasionally business owners who don’t have children will establish a corporate donor-advised fund so their business can engage employees to fund causes in their community.


American Endowment Foundation (AEF) is one of the nation’s largest independent donor-advised fund sponsors. AEF expands philanthropy by partnering with firms and advisors in the financial services industry, enabling more donors to create a significant charitable impact. To learn more about AEF’s resources for donors and financial advisors, or to open a donor-advised fund, visit or call us at 1-888-966-8170.