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  • Donor Advised Funds

    I'm looking to open a donor advised fund. For simplicity, I am considering opening the account with Fidelity. Does anyone have any experience with DAF at Fidelity? How do their fees and service compare to others (TD Ameritrade, Vanguard, etc)? As this will be my first experience with DAF, is there anything else I should consider?

  • #2
    I have DAFs with Fidelity, Vanguard, and I used to have one with T. Rowe Price.

    I recommend Fidelity for its low startup cost (as little as $5k), smaller minimum grants ($50 versus $500) and slick user interface that makes it easy to make new or repeat grants. I make > 100 grants from ours annually, most of them anonymously.

    I've written at least a half dozen posts on the topic. Here's one that WCI and I did together (he's since started using DAFs):

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    • #3
      Here you go, about 1/3 down:

      https://www.physicianonfire.com/dafgiving/

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      • #4
        +1 for Fidelity. I have been using it for about 15 years, and it has continually improved over the years.

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        • #5
          Vanguard Charitable works fine for my purposes. I suspect Fidelity would as well though and it works a whole lot better for many people who don't give as much as we do.
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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          • #6
            OP, where do you have your taxable account? It's not a make-or-break issue, but moving funds from a taxable account to a DAF held at the same brokerage only takes a mouse click or two. It can be a bit more complicated if your taxable account is at one brokerage and your DAF is at another brokerage; you may need to mail in paperwork, and the transfer can take a week or two to go through.

            I have a DAF at Schwab, which I like, but if I had to do it over again I'd probably open one with Fidelity. My taxable account is with Vanguard, but Vanguard Charitable's minimum grant amount of $500 is too high for me (as I donate a little to a lot of charities rather than a lot to a few).

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            • #7
              +1 for fidelity as well

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              • #8
                Do people track how their DAF is performing return wise? Is there an easy way to do it (with Fidelity) other than manually calculating XIRR on your own? I don't even see anywhere that shows me my total gains/losses. It's obviously all going to Charity anyway, but I would like to see how the investments are doing and make more money in the account.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NinjaDoc View Post
                  Do people track how their DAF is performing return wise? Is there an easy way to do it (with Fidelity) other than manually calculating XIRR on your own?
                  Good question, but one I can't help you with. I believe my Schwab Charitable account provides me with that information, but I don't pay any attention to it as I try to come close to paying out 100% of the funds deposited every year. (That may change down the road, though.)

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                  • #10
                    Thank you for posting! I will absolutely be utilizing a DAF! Think i will look into Fidelity today!
                    Thanks!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by artemis View Post
                      OP, where do you have your taxable account? It's not a make-or-break issue, but moving funds from a taxable account to a DAF held at the same brokerage only takes a mouse click or two. It can be a bit more complicated if your taxable account is at one brokerage and your DAF is at another brokerage; you may need to mail in paperwork, and the transfer can take a week or two to go through.

                      I have a DAF at Schwab, which I like, but if I had to do it over again I'd probably open one with Fidelity. My taxable account is with Vanguard, but Vanguard Charitable's minimum grant amount of $500 is too high for me (as I donate a little to a lot of charities rather than a lot to a few).
                      I am setting up a DAF this year for other tax reasons and plan to use Vanguard simply for this reason - my funds are at Vanguard. However, I am going to follow POF's lead and later set up a DAF at Fidelity that I will contribute to from my Vanguard DAF, then use the Fidelity DAF for smaller contributions to various causes.

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                      • #12
                        We recommend Fido unless they are planning clients who need investment management, then TDA. Given your post, I would heartily endorse Fidelity.
                        Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                        • #13
                          FYI everyone this post was answered Sept 2021. I just tagged on to the end with a related question. Maybe shoulda started a new post?

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                          • #14
                            Another one for Fidelity, opened about a year ago. We chose that despite having our taxable account at Vanguard because of the lower minimums. It's a slight process to donate shares from Vanguard to Fidelity be I've done it three times now and think I've got it down!

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