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How do donor-advised funds work?

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“Donor-advised funds are accounts where you set aside money you want to give to charities, including churches, schools and other nonprofits,” says Mandy Tuong, president and CEO of Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing® (Thrivent Charitable). “You may receive a tax deduction for the money or the value of the asset at the time it is deposited. Generally, any investment gains in the account are tax-free, which can allow you to give even more to charitable causes than you initially contributed.”*

Why would you open one?

Donor-advised funds give you choices (depending on the type you open) for when you give and how your fund is invested. “They also make it easier to plan and track your giving to different charities in one account,” says Tuong. Once money has been deposited into a donor-advised fund, you have the option of making grants now or later. So, you might give money to a food bank today and schedule a donation to a women’s shelter for the end of the year.

A donor-advised fund can help you stay focused on your priorities by budgeting your giving for today and the future. It even can help you work toward your retirement goals: You could put money into a donor-advised fund during your working years to build a giving fund to be used when you retire and your income is limited.

“These funds also provide teaching moments,” says Tuong. “Some families have their children help pick the donation recipients and even contribute some of their own money as they get older.”

Are there different types?

There are several:

  • Advise-As-You-Go, where you decide how you want the funds invested, what charitable organizations to make grants to and when to give (you can give any time).

  • Designated, for when you know the causes or charities you want to give to, and when you want to set an amount or percentage from your fund to be automatically granted annually while you’re living or after you’ve died. You can change the organizations that will receive grants at any time.

  • Non-advised, where you name an organization to receive qualified charitable distributions when you open the account. The designated organization can’t be changed once it’s named.

Is there a minimum deposit?

“There’s no minimum requirement to open a donor-advised fund with Thrivent Charitable,” says Tuong. “While other fund administrators often require a minimum deposit amount, we’re proud to make this powerful generosity vehicle available to all.

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Charitable Strategies: Donor-Advised Funds

Learn more

Want to learn more about donor-advised funds? Talk to your Thrivent financial advisor or visit Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. The mutual fund prospectus contains more information on investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses, which investors should read carefully and consider before investing. Available at

*Thrivent, its financial professionals, and Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing, do not provide legal, accounting or tax advice. Consult your attorney or tax professional.

Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing® is a public charity that serves individuals, organizations and the community through charitable planning, donor-advised funds and endowments. Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing works collaboratively with Thrivent and its financial advisors. It is a separate legal entity from Thrivent, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.