Simplifying charitable giving: The benefits of a white-label donor-advised fund

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are the fastest-growing and most popular charitable giving option today. That’s largely a result of more individuals — especially high-net-worth individuals — looking to contribute to causes they believe in. As more millennials continue to engage in philanthropy and look for financial advisors who can assist with their wealth management, firms that offer DAF services can better win new clients and keep existing ones.

While DAFs are popular because they are easier to manage than other giving vehicles, setting up the actual funds requires some work, which may feel intimidating for financial institutions.

Fortunately, as experts in the field, we know what goes into setting up a DAF, which is why we created our white-label donor-advised fund solution.

With our solution you can offer a charitable giving option under your own branding — without needing the investment, money, or manpower to set up or administer your own program.

As you figure out the ins and out of starting a DAF program, here are a few common questions and concerns we hear often about the process of setting up a white-label donor-advised fund solution. 

Benefits of a white-label DAF solution

If you’re not certain why offering DAF solution can be beneficial to your firm or your clients, 

here’s a quick overview of what a white-label solution can bring:

  • Greater value for your clients — Donors want philanthropy to be part of their overall wealth management, not just a one-off donation. They also prefer one advisor handle all their financial needs. Providing access to philanthropic vehicles like a DAF means your firm can provide holistic wealth management services that clients want.
  • Tax and savings benefits for clients — In short, when clients donate to a DAF they’ll enjoy tax-free growth, investment flexibility, reduced tax costs, and the establishment of a lasting charitable legacy. To read all the details, see our dedicated DAF page
  • A strengthening of your brand and your clients’ trust in it — Your clients are already comfortable with your brand and its solutions, and offering a white-label solution for their charitable giving will continue to build on your reputation. Rather than risk confusion by introducing a third party, your clients can keep using the services of your trusted brand.
  • More support for your advisors — Not every advisor has a deep understanding about philanthropic vehicles or specific options. Rather than asking them to conduct additional research, provide them with an in-house, branded solution to keep things simple. This level of support can increase adoption rates. 
  • A supportive partnership — Rather than having to undertake the work and investment of realizing your own solution, we handle the difficult administrative tasks so you can concentrate on providing value for your clients. We even partner with Renaissance Charitable Foundation so you don’t have to find or establish your own sponsoring charity to create the DAFs.  

How to set up your white-label DAF account

The only thing better than the benefits of our white-label DAF is how easy it is to set up. Once you decide to implement a DAF program into your wealth management services, we’ll walk you through the process and handle the administrative and back-end responsibilities. 

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Kick-off

  • We start by outlining the program parameters, including minimum account size, minimum grant size, investment offerings, etc. 
  • We’ll determine how often we meet to discuss progress, which can be weekly or as needed.
  • We’ll start to create the necessary program documents, such as forms, form letters, grant checks, and statements.

Step 2: Set up user acceptance testing (UAT)

  • Once we have the essentials ready, we build a testing environment for your internal use.
  • We make sure we’re best representing your organization by checking all branding requirements. 
  • The internal build is thoroughly tested and then approved.
  • We coordinate with your team to create specific workflows to ensure that the process is as efficient as possible.
  • We review everything about the banking process and finalize all elements before moving forward on the external website.

Step 3: Build the external website

  • Now we build the branded platform that will go live for your clients.
  • Upon completion, we coordinate with you to review the site and approve production.
  • During this time we also work with you to finalize all processes and corresponding documentation.
  • We provide training so all your personnel feels comfortable using the website. 

Step 4: Go live

  • When the site is ready to go live, we activate the phone line and email.
  • Once all support operations are in place, your white-label solution is ready.

On average, it takes 90-120 days from the start of the process to have a fully functioning site. Once it’s live, we manage all of the administrative, legal, and technical aspects — including performing due diligence on grant requests, managing gift acceptance, and making distributions to approved grantees.

We can also provide you with supporting marketing and educational materials to inform your clients about the benefits of a donor-advised fund.

Answering your questions and concerns

Chances are you still have some questions or concerns about how this works, or about possible problems or issues. We’ve been in this business a long time, so we have answers to many of these, which we’re happy to share with you: 

  • Setting up a DAF program requires too much time and resources to manage.
    Not when Ren does all the heavy lifting. Thanks to the work of our in-house finance experts, we take care of all the accounting and compliance required for a DAF program. Our top-level services ensure that you don’t have to worry about the extensive operational and administrative tasks that go into running a DAF program.

  • Starting a DAF program costs too much.
    It takes around $50,000 to start a DAF program, but it is an important investment in your growth. Philanthropic services bring a higher level of sophistication to a wealth firm and allow for premium service offerings to clients. Being able to offer this functionality elevates a financial institution to compete on a level with competitors that are giants in the industry — such as more established and sophisticated competitors like Fidelity or Schwab.

  • It’s very complicated to start up and slow to get to market.
    We’ve done this enough that our process makes it ridiculously simple and streamlined — you probably don’t even need to involve your IT team. Once we get started, you’ll have your site up and running in 90-120 days.  

  • It isn’t scalable for our needs.
    • This isn’t true. We work with firms of all sizes so we know that this platform can handle any level of growth. In fact, we count on scaling your DAF solution along with your firm. 
  • DAF programs require expensive tools and software that we don’t have.
    You don’t need to have them because we do.Charitable giving is what we do, and we’ve invested our time, money, and people into delivering the best technology, tools, and resources in the industry right at your fingertips.

  • How difficult is it to switch DAF providers?
    • Not difficult at all. You can trust our tried-and-true onboarding process and procedures because we’ve transitioned many existing DAF programs from other providers.
  • What’s the difference between white-label and private-label?
    Traditionally with white-labeling the provider of the product/service specifies the contracted tools, processes, and features. With a private-label it is the buyer who specifies the parts of the service. In this case the terms can be used interchangeably.

  • What authority will my organization have with each donor-advised fund account?
    You will decide limitations on minimum/maximum grant and contribution amounts, investment options, look and feel of the client/donor portal, workflows and more. You will also have access to the platform to view all activities in the program.

  • We have our own sponsoring charity. Can we still work with Ren?  
    Absolutely. Ren can work with any sponsoring charity. 

We hope this blog post has helped address your concerns, but if you still have questions, we’d love to talk. Reach out through our contact form, and one of our charitable giving experts will respond as soon as possible. 

Is a donor-advised fund the right choice for your client?​

Get the answers to the most frequently asked questions about donor-advised funds in our free eBook — 12 Questions to Ask Before Setting Up a Donor-Advised Fund.