October 2023






Donor-advised funds (DAFs) have been part of the charitable giving landscape in the United States (US) since the 1930s and were recently dubbed “the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle.”1,2 Attractive tax benefits and hassle-free giving contributed to a 39.5% increase in assets donated to DAFs in 2021, reaching US$234.06 billion.3 In recent years, DAFs have
also emerged in the Asia-Pacific region, albeit slowly and with important differences from those in the US. To better understand the models of DAFs in the Asia-Pacific, including their motivations and growth potential, the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) took an in-depth look at these philanthropic giving vehicles across the region. Based on 25 interviews with sponsoring organization representatives and experts across seven economies, we found that DAFs are developing at different paces along different trajectories.

To understand these trajectories, we examined the DAFs’ individual genesis story, sponsoring organizations and their motivations, benefits for donors, and the regulatory and policy framework in each economy. Together, these four aspects shape the operation of DAFs in each economy and influence how this space is likely to evolve over the coming years. What is clear is that DAFs are gaining popularity as giving vehicles in the Asia-Pacific. But across the region, donors and sponsoring organizations are leveraging them for different purposes while working within the boundaries of an existing regulatory framework.

In Part I of our report, we examine the four key factors and how they influence the region’s DAF market. Part II provides a snapshot of the DAF landscape in each examined economy,
highlighting some key characteristics and players.