23rd February 2021

On the 23rd of February, Prism’s CEO, Anna Josse, joined a panel of industry experts to discuss the growing phenomenon of the Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

Jointly hosted by Philanthropy Impact, an organisation that provides resources and events to support the philanthropy sector, and Berwin Leighton Paisner, the esteemed private law firm and charity specialists, the evening provided guests with the opportunity to learn about the technicalities and practicalities of the DAF.

Joining Anna on the panel was Fabian French of UK Community Foundations, David Stead of Charities Aid Foundation, John Canady of National Philanthropic Trust UK, Neasa Cohen of BLP and Rodney Luff of the Master Charitable Trust. The panel was expertly chaired by Lucy Blyth of Philia International. Starting the event with Neasa’s legal perspective on the DAF, she described the reasons behind setting up a DAF as an alternative to other traditional ways of giving, with further real life examples given by panel members.

Thanks to the diverse panel, the audience discovered more about the different perks of the DAF. Tax effective giving, donor anonymity, low operational costs, flexibility to give internationally and a quick set-up were all reasons given as to why advisors and donors would choose this structure instead of a traditional foundation. Following market trends in the US, consensus among the panel demonstrated that the DAF model will only become more popular among donors in the UK.

A fair balance was maintained whilst the panel also discussed the instances where the DAF is not an appropriate solution. Complicated family structures could mean that a DAF may not provide the most straightforward solution to family giving. However, this is not to say that they are not appropriate for group giving. The Collective Fund structure is much the same as the individual DAF, however, these structures allow large groups of donors to raise funds collectively for their chosen causes. As Fabian pointed out on the night, there’s never been so many dormant charities registered in the UK. The Collective DAF streamlines the process of setting up as a charity, preventing the creation of unnecessary legal structures.

Philanthropy in the UK is changing. Donors are giving more regularly in their lifetime as opposed to leaving a legacy and reports such a Philanthropy Impact’s demonstrate these changes. With a well-balanced panel of DAF providers and experts, the audience gained an insight into the complexities of the charitable structure, and why this really is a growing phenomenon. Rounding the evening off with Rodney Luff’s personal philanthropic journey was an excellent, real-life example of how a DAF can help to increase the flow of funds into the charity sector by saving donors time and money. We’re confident the upward trend will only continue.  



The panel of experienced DAF providers, charity lawyers and philanthropy advisers


To download the slides from the evening, please follow this link.