Donor-Advised Funds Taking Off in Australia
9 July 2001 at 1:07 pm
Donor-Advised Funds are fast becoming the hottest new vehicle for charitable giving in Australia. Experts say the hassle free charitable gift fund is now being used as a precursor to bequesting; fine tuning in the here-and-now the money affluent Australians will leave behind!
While forms of Donor-Advised Funds have been around for a long time it has only been in the last twelve months that the rush has been on to publicise their benefits and to offer them as part of financial investment packages.
The front-runner in this field is Perpetual Trustees Australia, which is now pushing Donor-Advised Funds as the charitable gift fund of choice.
Perpetual’s National Manager of Charitable Planning, Jan Cochrane-Harry, says there is now a great deal of interest in Australia particularly when donors find out how flexible the system is.
Cochrane-Harry says the fund is for donors who don’t want the formal legal responsibility of managing their charitable investment, or carrying out the administration or the compliance requirements for government reporting but at the same time want the ability to decide who will be the beneficiaries.
She says Donor-Advised Funds are typically structured as a public charity which is more cost effective and far less cumbersome than private foundations.
These funds typically have an initial minimum contribution of $10,000. The administration costs in a Perpetual fund is (point).65%. That’s $650 for every $100,000.
Cochrane-Harry says after a recent “Women in Finance” seminar in Sydney the number of people making inquiries about the funds increased dramatically.
The response from many people was they didn’t know Donor-Advised Funds existed outside the US.
Helen Imber from Melbourne Community Foundation says MCF has been offering this flexible fund for some time with enormous success because it allows individuals the opportunity to make decisions about where their money goes.
Imber says some donors are now tithing part of their income to the fund at a time in their lives when they are making good money without the hassles of setting up named funds.
In the US, the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund is one of the largest with over $2.5 billion in invested funds. Last year it distributed over $700 million to eligible charities.
Perpetual says that in the next few months it will offer an on-line service to donors where they will be able to use a secure pin number to monitor the progress of their Donor-Advised Fund and then e-mail instructions regarding their preferred beneficiaries to the trustees.
Perpetual says the key to this type of charitable gift fund is that it is a social investment structure that goes on into perpetuity.
Jan Cochrane-Harry says Perpetual is also organising seminars in Melbourne in coming months. For more information check out Perpetual’s updated web site at www.perpetual.com.au. Click on “Perpetual Foundation” and follow the links to Charitable Gift Fund.