DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

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Traveller
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DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Traveller » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:02 pm

Due to the tax law changes and my personal situation, now is the time to open a Donor Advised Fund and fund a years worth of charitable giving. I am considering either Vanguard or Fidelity and am torn as to which is best for me. I keep all my investments at Vanguard, so I would imagine it would be easier / quicker to transfer from my VG Mutual Fund accounts into the VG DAF. I could live with the higher minimums for the VG DAF, but would prefer the lower minimums at Fidelity. The two questions I haven't been able to find clear answers to are:

1) Can I directly transfer Vanguard mutual fund shares (Admiral class) from VG to Fidelity DAF or do they have to be converted to ETFs first?
2) I see that VG DAF charges a fee in March if your balance gets too low. Do they look at the average balance over the year or just the balance in March (in other words, do i just need to make sure i am above the minimum in March or all year long)?

Thanks for your input!

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GerryL
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by GerryL » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:11 pm

I went with Fidelity over Vanguard for my DAF for 2 reasons:
1) The VG minimums (both contribution and grant) were higher than I was ready for when I started the DAF. Still are, for that matter.
2) I found the written material for Fidelity much more user-friendly. That may have changed, but I'm happy with Fidelity Charitable service and responsiveness when I have a question.

I am feeding my DAF using individual stocks held in my VG brokerage account. Now that I've finally documented the process (start at the Fidelity site), everything goes swimmingly. Don't know that using funds in VG funds would be any different. That might be a question for the folks at Fidelity Charitable (not Fidelity).

euroswiss
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by euroswiss » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:25 pm

Agreed - the higher minimum (I think it is 20K at Vanguard) is what kept me from setting it up there as well. I'm sure other than that, VG is fine. I actually went with Schwab in the end and have been very pleased (though I'm sure Fido is ok too)

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dm200
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:30 pm

GerryL wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:11 pm
I went with Fidelity over Vanguard for my DAF for 2 reasons:
1) The VG minimums (both contribution and grant) were higher than I was ready for when I started the DAF. Still are, for that matter.
2) I found the written material for Fidelity much more user-friendly. That may have changed, but I'm happy with Fidelity Charitable service and responsiveness when I have a question.

I am feeding my DAF using individual stocks held in my VG brokerage account. Now that I've finally documented the process (start at the Fidelity site), everything goes swimmingly. Don't know that using funds in VG funds would be any different. That might be a question for the folks at Fidelity Charitable (not Fidelity).
We want with Fidelity as well because of the lower requirements.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:23 pm

I'm another who chose Fidelity because of the lower minimums.
Traveller wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:02 pm
1) Can I directly transfer Vanguard mutual fund shares (Admiral class) from VG to Fidelity DAF or do they have to be converted to ETFs first?
This is exactly what I did. Fidelity DAF has a "Letter of Instruction" form that allows you to list the Vanguard mutual funds you wish to donate. Fax the form to Fidelity and then they "pull" the assets from Vanguard, sell them, and then invest according to however you "advise". The transfer was easier and faster than I expected.

If you go with Fidelity, they have low ER index fund options available but you have to look for them.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:46 pm

I have both. I wanted Vanguard because of specific lot ID transfers from our Vanguard account and I figured there would be less room for a mistake. However, Fidelity's DAF is the one to beat, not only because of the minimums but because they allow to make donations in memory of someone or in honor of someone. You can also specify a contact person's information at the charity in much more detail (questions sometime require phone calls).

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dm200
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:48 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:46 pm
I have both. I wanted Vanguard because of specific lot ID transfers from our Vanguard account and I figured there would be less room for a mistake. However, Fidelity's DAF is the one to beat, not only because of the minimums but because they allow to make donations in memory of someone or in honor of someone. You can also specify a contact person's information at the charity in much more detail (questions sometime require phone calls).
I really like the Fidelity DAF anonymous grant option.

We also use the "in memory of" designation regularly - several times every year.. - these are not anonymous..

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Artsdoctor
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:55 pm

The Vanguard DAF has an anonymous donor option and I am going to guess that any DAF would as well.

I have discussed these shortcomings with Vanguard Charitable and they openly acknowledge them. I'm not sure why there hasn't been any action because this is an old problem, and it would be incredibly easy to fix.

For me, I was happy to see how easy it was to transfer money from the Vanguard DAF to the Fidelity DAF, so there is a workaround. It's just frustrating because it doesn't have to be this way.

radiowave
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by radiowave » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:26 pm

Really like the Fidelity DAF for the reasons posted above. You can move a portion or $ amount of mutual funds from a taxable account directly to the DAF with a few key clicks. We have been happy with disbursement of funds on the DAF side, takes about a week or two to process. There is a list of "approved" charities /503c organizations which you can specify directly. Could not be easier.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

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dm200
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:27 pm

radiowave wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:26 pm
Really like the Fidelity DAF for the reasons posted above. You can move a portion or $ amount of mutual funds from a taxable account directly to the DAF with a few key clicks. We have been happy with disbursement of funds on the DAF side, takes about a week or two to process. There is a list of "approved" charities /503c organizations which you can specify directly. Could not be easier.
When I make a grant request for a repeat charity, it seems to be done in one or two days.

radiowave
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by radiowave » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:55 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:27 pm
radiowave wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:26 pm
Really like the Fidelity DAF for the reasons posted above. You can move a portion or $ amount of mutual funds from a taxable account directly to the DAF with a few key clicks. We have been happy with disbursement of funds on the DAF side, takes about a week or two to process. There is a list of "approved" charities /503c organizations which you can specify directly. Could not be easier.
When I make a grant request for a repeat charity, it seems to be done in one or two days.
All my experience to date with Fidelity DAF (not quite a year) was with all new grant request so good to know after the first disbursement, the subsequent grants go much quicker.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

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dm200
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:22 pm

radiowave wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:55 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:27 pm
radiowave wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:26 pm
Really like the Fidelity DAF for the reasons posted above. You can move a portion or $ amount of mutual funds from a taxable account directly to the DAF with a few key clicks. We have been happy with disbursement of funds on the DAF side, takes about a week or two to process. There is a list of "approved" charities /503c organizations which you can specify directly. Could not be easier.
When I make a grant request for a repeat charity, it seems to be done in one or two days.
All my experience to date with Fidelity DAF (not quite a year) was with all new grant request so good to know after the first disbursement, the subsequent grants go much quicker.
It has been several years since I have made any grant requests to new charities.

Traveller
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Traveller » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:22 pm

Thank you all for the feedback. Clearly there is a lot of love for the Fidelity DAF here (and that is where I am leaning as well for all the reasons listed).
Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:23 pm
I'm another who chose Fidelity because of the lower minimums.
Traveller wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:02 pm
1) Can I directly transfer Vanguard mutual fund shares (Admiral class) from VG to Fidelity DAF or do they have to be converted to ETFs first?
This is exactly what I did. Fidelity DAF has a "Letter of Instruction" form that allows you to list the Vanguard mutual funds you wish to donate. Fax the form to Fidelity and then they "pull" the assets from Vanguard, sell them, and then invest according to however you "advise". The transfer was easier and faster than I expected.

If you go with Fidelity, they have low ER index fund options available but you have to look for them.
This gets near the core of my question - when you tell Fidelity DAF to pull Vanguard mutual funds, can you specify which lots? Part of the goal here is to be able to donate my most highly appreciated lots.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:40 pm

Traveller wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:22 pm
Thank you all for the feedback. Clearly there is a lot of love for the Fidelity DAF here (and that is where I am leaning as well for all the reasons listed).
Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:23 pm
I'm another who chose Fidelity because of the lower minimums.
Traveller wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:02 pm
1) Can I directly transfer Vanguard mutual fund shares (Admiral class) from VG to Fidelity DAF or do they have to be converted to ETFs first?
This is exactly what I did. Fidelity DAF has a "Letter of Instruction" form that allows you to list the Vanguard mutual funds you wish to donate. Fax the form to Fidelity and then they "pull" the assets from Vanguard, sell them, and then invest according to however you "advise". The transfer was easier and faster than I expected.

If you go with Fidelity, they have low ER index fund options available but you have to look for them.
This gets near the core of my question - when you tell Fidelity DAF to pull Vanguard mutual funds, can you specify which lots? Part of the goal here is to be able to donate my most highly appreciated lots.
Yes, the Letter of Instruction allows you to specify lots.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Artsdoctor » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:23 pm

Traveller wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:22 pm
Thank you all for the feedback. Clearly there is a lot of love for the Fidelity DAF here (and that is where I am leaning as well for all the reasons listed).
Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:23 pm
I'm another who chose Fidelity because of the lower minimums.
Traveller wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:02 pm
1) Can I directly transfer Vanguard mutual fund shares (Admiral class) from VG to Fidelity DAF or do they have to be converted to ETFs first?
This is exactly what I did. Fidelity DAF has a "Letter of Instruction" form that allows you to list the Vanguard mutual funds you wish to donate. Fax the form to Fidelity and then they "pull" the assets from Vanguard, sell them, and then invest according to however you "advise". The transfer was easier and faster than I expected.

If you go with Fidelity, they have low ER index fund options available but you have to look for them.
This gets near the core of my question - when you tell Fidelity DAF to pull Vanguard mutual funds, can you specify which lots? Part of the goal here is to be able to donate my most highly appreciated lots.
Yes . . . However, it has been my experience that Vanguard is challenged by keeping track of the right lots. It's good, but not great. The chances are, you'll be fine. In the past, I have had problems and I have had to sort them out; they have always been corrected but it was a nuisance that was great enough to prompt me to open a Vanguard DAF. If you know that going in, then open the Fidelity DAF and then just keep up with everything to make sure it's gone as planned.

28fe6
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by 28fe6 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:32 pm

I'm planning on starting a Fidelity DAF because of the minimums and I find the $100 annual fee reasonable. How do you arrange actually paying charities from the Fidelity DAF? I'm sure you can set up recurring things, but what about more spontaneous giving or one-time donations. Do you get a check-book that you can use to write checks or anything? I hope it's not this arduous thing that makes it a hassle to give small amounts.

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dm200
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by dm200 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:35 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:32 pm
I'm planning on starting a Fidelity DAF because of the minimums and I find the $100 annual fee reasonable. How do you arrange actually paying charities from the Fidelity DAF? I'm sure you can set up recurring things, but what about more spontaneous giving or one-time donations. Do you get a check-book that you can use to write checks or anything? I hope it's not this arduous thing that makes it a hassle to give small amounts.
Very easy to do online. I do nothing automatically recurring -

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:36 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:35 pm
28fe6 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:32 pm
I'm planning on starting a Fidelity DAF because of the minimums and I find the $100 annual fee reasonable. How do you arrange actually paying charities from the Fidelity DAF? I'm sure you can set up recurring things, but what about more spontaneous giving or one-time donations. Do you get a check-book that you can use to write checks or anything? I hope it's not this arduous thing that makes it a hassle to give small amounts.
Very easy to do online. I do nothing automatically recurring -
I agree that it's very easy.

No checkbook, because all you are doing is recommending Fidelity Charitable to make the donation. They have to fully vet the distribution. But I've found just about all of the charities I've entered were already on their system and they get approved in a day or two.

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dm200
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by dm200 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:42 pm

Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:36 pm
dm200 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:35 pm
28fe6 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:32 pm
I'm planning on starting a Fidelity DAF because of the minimums and I find the $100 annual fee reasonable. How do you arrange actually paying charities from the Fidelity DAF? I'm sure you can set up recurring things, but what about more spontaneous giving or one-time donations. Do you get a check-book that you can use to write checks or anything? I hope it's not this arduous thing that makes it a hassle to give small amounts.
Very easy to do online. I do nothing automatically recurring -
I agree that it's very easy.
No checkbook, because all you are doing is recommending Fidelity Charitable to make the donation. They have to fully vet the distribution. But I've found just about all of the charities I've entered were already on their system and they get approved in a day or two.
Yes - exactly my experience.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:55 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:42 pm
Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:36 pm
dm200 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:35 pm
28fe6 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:32 pm
I'm planning on starting a Fidelity DAF because of the minimums and I find the $100 annual fee reasonable. How do you arrange actually paying charities from the Fidelity DAF? I'm sure you can set up recurring things, but what about more spontaneous giving or one-time donations. Do you get a check-book that you can use to write checks or anything? I hope it's not this arduous thing that makes it a hassle to give small amounts.
Very easy to do online. I do nothing automatically recurring -
I agree that it's very easy.
No checkbook, because all you are doing is recommending Fidelity Charitable to make the donation. They have to fully vet the distribution. But I've found just about all of the charities I've entered were already on their system and they get approved in a day or two.
Yes - exactly my experience.
dm200 and the Pigeye - a couple of Fidelity DAF fanboys... :beer

Msmint
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Msmint » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:54 pm

Another vote for the Fidelity DAF. We've had this for several years and love the ease of donating appreciated stock this way, having previously done this the hard way. We love to make our grants! Super simple to do. We do both recurring and one time grants. You can invest the money in your DAF as well, tax free gains.

Traveller
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Traveller » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:13 pm

OP here.. I went ahead and opened the DAF at Fidelity and have a few final questions for those who have transferred vanguard funds shares to their Fidelity DAF.
Artsdoctor wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:23 pm
...
Yes . . . However, it has been my experience that Vanguard is challenged by keeping track of the right lots. It's good, but not great. The chances are, you'll be fine....
Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:23 pm
...
This is exactly what I did. Fidelity DAF has a "Letter of Instruction" form that allows you to list the Vanguard mutual funds you wish to donate...
Two questions:
1) it appears that both my wife and I need to sign the letter of instruction since our vanguard taxable account is joint - do you know if that is correct?
2) a pop-up window on Fidelity seemed to indicate we need to get a medallion signature guarantee on the letter on instruction. Is that correct? And if so, does that mean both my wife and I need to be present when we get the medallion signature guarantee?

Thanks everyone!

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:32 pm

Traveller wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:13 pm
OP here.. I went ahead and opened the DAF at Fidelity and have a few final questions for those who have transferred vanguard funds shares to their Fidelity DAF.
Artsdoctor wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:23 pm
...
Yes . . . However, it has been my experience that Vanguard is challenged by keeping track of the right lots. It's good, but not great. The chances are, you'll be fine....
Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:23 pm
...
This is exactly what I did. Fidelity DAF has a "Letter of Instruction" form that allows you to list the Vanguard mutual funds you wish to donate...
Two questions:
1) it appears that both my wife and I need to sign the letter of instruction since our vanguard taxable account is joint - do you know if that is correct?
2) a pop-up window on Fidelity seemed to indicate we need to get a medallion signature guarantee on the letter on instruction. Is that correct? And if so, does that mean both my wife and I need to be present when we get the medallion signature guarantee?

Thanks everyone!
1) On a joint account, I would agree that you both need to sign.
2) The Fidelity rep told me not to get a medallion signature guarantee. My recollection is they said that space is for them (indeed, it says "Authorized for Fidelity Use Only" above it).

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GerryL
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by GerryL » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:05 pm

I don't know if the form/process is any different when it comes to company stock held at Vanguard (being transferred to Fidelity Charitable), but I am no longer required to get a medallion and was specifically told that is the case when I did a move last spring. Didn't even think about it when I transferred more shares a couple of weeks ago.

desiderium
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by desiderium » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:00 am

Both, despite the redundancy it seems easier

VG DAF is easy to fund from VG, only a few clicks. OTOH, funding Fidelity DAF from VG takes more time and forms.
I placed 5 years' worth of giving into my VG DAF in 2017 ahead of the new tax law.
Fidelity DAF charges a fee annually, so I use for smaller contributions and drain every year.
Easy to fund my Fidelity DAF from VG DAF for smaller contributions

InertiaMan
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by InertiaMan » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:58 pm

A significant distinction between the two DAFs, and one that I've not seen mentioned in this thread, is the minimum size of the grant to a charity.

The Fidelity DAF will distribute as little as $50, while Vanguard Charitable requires $500 or more.

$500 eliminates a LOT of small "spontaneous" donations that many of us are likely to consider.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: DAF - Vanguard or Fidelity? (donor advised fund)

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:50 pm

InertiaMan wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:58 pm
A significant distinction between the two DAFs, and one that I've not seen mentioned in this thread, is the minimum size of the grant to a charity.

The Fidelity DAF will distribute as little as $50, while Vanguard Charitable requires $500 or more.

$500 eliminates a LOT of small "spontaneous" donations that many of us are likely to consider.
A big factor in why we chose Fidelity.

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