When Ruth Mandel was looking for a charity she could support, she settled on the WoodGreen Foundation’s Homeward Bound program. Part of WoodGreen Community services, the program is designed to help inadequately housed or homeless mother-led families. When she went looking for a way to give that would provide her the flexibility to make a contribution now (and receive a tax receipt) and decide later how the funds should be distributed, she settled on a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF).

If you’re thinking a DAF may work for you, Jo-Anne Ryan, Vice President, Philanthropy, TD Wealth, offers three things you can consider before you step in:

You can donate now and decide later

“When you give through a Donor-Advised Fund the tax receipt is issued up front, even if you haven’t yet decided how you’d like your funds to be given,” says Ryan. This can allow you to give now and make a decision on where you want to give later.

It’s designed to be flexible

When you open a Donor-Advised Fund, you have the opportunity to choose which registered Canadian charity or charitiesyou wish you support. “You have the flexibility to change the charity and the amount that is granted, at any time,” says Ryan. 

It can allow you to establish a legacy of giving

Once established, your Donor-Advised Fund can continue to generate grants. You can name a successor to take over your advisory role after you’ve passed on. “It’s a vehicle to get various generations of your family involved in giving,” says Ryan.