A Great Way to Get Some of that DAF Money Flowing to Nonprofits

With all the talk about new legislation to add restrictions to Donor Advised Funds, it’s great to know that there are some specific actions you can take now to get some of that money flowing to nonprofits. My friend and colleague Jen Risher writes about her fantastic program (in its second year!) called “Half My DAF”. Read on…

In 2020, when COVID hit, my husband, David, and I felt our hearts go out to nonprofits. Charitable organizations were working harder than ever and yet lacked needed funding due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Meanwhile, over $120 billion (and now over $140 billion) sat, unused in donor-advised funds.

Frustrated by the billions stuck in DAFs while nonprofits were helping those in need, we wanted to inspire more giving. So, we offered up $1 million to be given as matching grants to nonprofits supported by DAF donors who committed to spending down half of their DAFs. In just five months, from May to September 2020, #HalfMyDAF moved a total of $8.6 million from DAFs to nonprofits. Over 150 donors spent down half of the money in their DAFs and gave over 900 grants to over 750 nonprofits. We were able to match 340 grants dollar-for-dollar up to $10K – and some up to $25K.

Now, in 2021, we are continuing our work to get money moving out of DAFs and inspire more giving. On May 15th, #HalfMyDAF gave away $1.3 million in matching grants to 220 nonprofits. On October 9th, we will be giving away another $1.8 million.

If you are a DAF holder, all you need to do is commit to spending down half of the money in your DAF by October 8th and start giving. The nonprofits you support will be eligible for dollar-for-dollar matches – most up to $10K, with two $50K and one $100K matches. If you are a nonprofit, let your DAF donors know about this opportunity for you to be eligible for matches from #HalfMyDAF. Please take a look at our website: www.halfmydaf.com where we’ve listed instructions for donors and nonprofits. It’s also inspiring to see the list of nonprofits being supported; take a look at the “Heroes and Nonprofits” page.

A special thanks to our partners, Kathy Kwan, Robin & Court Lorenzini, and Brighton Jones Wealth Management, who have helped us create a $1.175 million general fund to match grants to organizations supported by #HalfMyDAF Heroes. Our daughters Zoe & Mia Risher, Stasia Obremskey & Dan Carroll, and Laura & Greg Spivy have contributed an additional $2 million focused on supporting racial justice, climate & environment, education in underserved communities, and reproductive health.

Jennifer Risher is the author of “We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth” and David Risher is the Co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit, Worldreader, using local books and technology to get kids reading.

Got any other cool and innovative ways to reach DAF donors? Let us know here.


I’m Saving Giving by providing a clear path to success, supported by data, statistics, and interviews. You can find more of me lifting the lid on the charitable sector here on Philanthropy 451, in my bestselling book, Philanthropy Revolution, on socials at TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn or listen to this episode of UBS On-Air: In Conversation with Lisa to learn more.

- Lisa