AEF receives inquiries from donors or their advisors every week, seeking guidance on transferring DAF accounts from other DAF sponsors to AEF. These inquiries come from individuals who may already have AEF DAF accounts and have a second DAF elsewhere, while others simply want to transfer their only DAF account to AEF.

The process for transferring DAFs to AEF is straightforward, and nearly all other DAF sponsors allow these transfers. However, it’s important to note that AEF requires donors to have financial advisors who can open and manage the assets in the DAF accounts. As a result, AEF is unable to accommodate donors who do not have a financial advisor.

Donors often choose to transfer their DAF accounts to AEF for a number of reasons including:

  1. Donors prefer that their financial advisors manage the DAF assets since they trust them to provide better returns than the standard investment options offered by other DAF sponsors. Their financial advisors often have greater flexibility in selecting the investments for their AEF DAF account. Donors feel this enables them to grant more overtime.
  2. Donors’ advisors are only able to manage the assets with some other DAF sponsors or are only able to manage at very high minimum amounts.
  3. Some donors independently opened DAFs, especially in the year-end rush or upon the advice of their tax or legal advisor, without realizing they could have opened one through their financial advisor.
  4. Donors established DAFs at their previous bank or wealth management firm before engaging their current advisor or firm and were unaware they could transfer the accounts to AEF. Also, donors’ advisors may have changed firms or custodians and could no longer use the previous DAF sponsor, thus necessitating a transfer to AEF.
  5. Donors opted to consolidate multiple DAF accounts into their one at AEF for efficiency and simplicity.
  6. Granting policies were more restrictive at other DAF sponsors so some prior and new grant recommendations were not approved.
  7. Donors were unable to name a successor advisor to the DAF account, the donor was limited in how much they could grant every year, the donor was required to make grants every year, or fees were higher at other DAF sponsors.
  8. DAF sponsors would not forward to the donors thank you letters they received from charities for the donors’ anonymous grants.
  9. Donors encountered service and execution issues, including slow grant processing, impersonal service, accounting errors, or limited technology.
  10. AEF’s ability to accept many types of assets including real estate, closely held business interests, or other illiquid assets, while other DAF sponsors could only accept gifts of cash or publicly traded stock.

The number of DAF transfers to AEF is expected to continue growing due to these and other reasons. The process of transferring DAFs to AEF is summarized in these three simple steps. Please reach out to AEF with any questions.