Nearly every week, donors or their advisors contact American Endowment Foundation (AEF) to inquire whether they, their friends, or family members can transfer donor advised fund (DAF) accounts at other DAF sponsors to AEF. Some donors already have accounts with AEF and have a second DAF elsewhere, while others simply want to transfer their only account to AEF.

The process for transferring DAFs to AEF is straightforward, and nearly all other DAF sponsors allow these transfers. Because AEF can only work with new donors who have financial advisors who manage the assets in their DAF accounts, AEF is unable to work with donors who do not have a financial advisor.

Most of the transfers have occurred as a result of referrals by advisors and our donors. Some of the primary reasons why donors have transferred their accounts to us recently include:

  1. Donors wanted their financial advisors to manage the assets in their DAF accounts since their advisors’ performance was much better than the investment options at other DAF sponsors, and donors wanted to be invested in the same investments as their other accounts.
  2. The financial advisors have much greater flexibility in selecting the investments for their AEF DAF account than at other sponsors.
  3. Donors’ advisors were not able to manage the assets at the other DAF sponsors, or were only able to at very high amounts.
  4. Donors opened DAFs on their own and often in a rush at the end of the year, and did not realize that they could have opened one through their financial advisor.
  5. Donors’ attorneys or accountants may have suggested one of the national or local DAFs that may not have been ideal.
  6. Donors established a DAF at their previous bank or wealth management firm before they started to work with their current advisor, and they were not aware that the DAF could be transferred to AEF.
  7. Donors wanted to consolidate multiple DAF accounts into their one at AEF.
  8. Donors were not able to make grants internationally or to other areas within the USA, or were prohibited from making grants to charities outside the more narrow mission of the DAF sponsor.
  9. Donors were unable to pass down their DAF account to future generations.
  10. Fees were higher at other DAF sponsors.
  11. Donors encountered service and execution issues, including slow grant processing, impersonal service, accounting errors, or limited technology.
  12. Donors wanted to be able to donate many types of assets such as privately-held stock, insurance, or real estate that AEF can accept, while other DAF sponsors could only accept gifts of cash or publicly traded stock.

The number of DAF transfers to AEF will continue to grow for these and other reasons. The process of transferring DAFs to AEF is summarized in these three simple steps. Please reach out to us with any questions at 1-888-440-4233.