As a leading provider of matching gift information for nonprofits around the world, we’ve received questions on nearly every topic imaginable. Thankfully our team has done thousands of hours of research into nearly aspect of the corporate matching gift space. Let’s dive into one question we’re regularly asked.
Are Donor Advised Funds Eligible?
One topic which comes up on occasion is whether donations made into or out of donor advised funds are eligible to be matched by employers. Like most questions we receive, the answer is “it depends.” As you’re probably already aware, matching gift guidelines vary by company. Some companies explicitly state their policies on donor advised funds while others ignore the subject completely, even in their complete guidelines.
Let’s take a look at corporate policies for a number of major companies which spell out the matching eligibility of donations into or out of donor advised funds.
We regularly use American Express as an example not only because they match employee donations (sometimes at a 2:1 ratio), but they also have very explicit and detailed matching gift guidelines.
What is Eligible?
Eligible organizations and contributions include: “Contributions out of a charitable gift, donor advised, community foundation or family fund to an eligible nonprofit distributed from an established fund set up by the employee in his or her name”
What is not Eligible?
Contributions earmarked to an already established or to establish an employee’s charitable gift, donor advised fund, community foundation or family fund.
Carmax is regularly recognized for having one of the top corporate employee giving programs. The company not only matches employee donations, but also matches donations from dependents until they turn 26. When it comes to Donor Advised Funds, here’s what Carmax guidelines say:
“Are All Gifts Eligible?”
Even if an organization is eligible, some gifts may not be. These include:
Gifts made by or through Community Trusts or similar organizations, including Charitable Remainder Trusts, Donor Advised Funds, or Private Foundations
Bank of America
Bank of America matches donations to most 501(c)(3) organizations up to $5,000 annually per employee as well as provides grants when retirees and employees volunteer. The company provides clear guidance around matching gifts for donor advised funds. Here’s what the company has to say:
The following organizations or categories of service are not eligible for matching donations through this program:
- Gifts made into Donor Advised Funds. The distribution made from those funds in the employee’s name to qualified organizations are eligible for matching
- And many others (Double the Donation excluded the others since they aren’t relevant for this post)
Chevron provides matching gifts to multiple types of nonprofit organizations, up to $10,000 per employee each year. With regard to private family foundations and Donor Advised Funds:
Donor Advised Funds must be directly funded by the employee, retiree or director only, and the Fund must maintain a separate account segregating the contributions of the donor.
Contributions made by a qualified family foundation or Donor Advised Fund must be directed by the donor and made on his or her behalf.
Managing finances and donations can be a difficult step for nonprofits, and it comes along with a lot of questions. To make the process easier, check out our matching gift guide below or these nonprofit accounting tools from Aplos.