Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Significant attention to and criticism of donor advised funds (DAFs) has created much curiosity and scrutiny of this increasingly utilized charitable giving tool. Concerns seem to be focused on two issues: grant distribution payout rate and timeline of grant distribution. Community foundations are the largest sponsor of DAFs in the United States. In the pursuit of discovering what impact philanthropic stewardship has on the distributions from donor advised funds, this study reviews the literature to understand influences of donor-determined engagement with a nonprofit on donor giving, nonprofit stewardship methods of donors, and the criticisms and challenges of donor advised funds. A positive correlation between donor engagement and donor giving is found. A variety of stewardship practices are discussed, most with foundations in Kelly’s (2001) stewardship elements. It is confirmed that there is a severe lack of empirical study of donor advised funds and of community foundations. Practitioners can find value in establishing robust donor engagement opportunities as well as a donor-centered stewardship plan. The gap in literature on donor advised funds offers many recommendations for future research.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services

First Advisor

Julianne Gassman

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (39 pages)



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