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Donor-Advised Funds: Challenges and Opportunities

Speaker: Jackie Marie Ernst, Seattle International Film Festival and Kari Dasher, The Ostara Group

Track: Building Better Systems

Time: Thursday, June 7 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Presentation Description:

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are the fastest-growing source of philanthropy in America, providing donors with a "one-stop shop" for their philanthropic activities. While potentially convenient, DAFs can also bring challenges in the form of regulations and relationship building. We will examine the real-world challenges and opportunities associated with DAFs and outline a set of practices that will help you comply with IRS rules and build strong relationships with your donors.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Because Donor-advised funds (DAFs) represent such a significant source of individual giving and are rapidly growing, it is essential that development staff understand what they are and how to handle them.

  • DAFs are complicated: while they can be convenient, they can also create practical and ethical challenges.

  • There are important practices staff should adopt when building relationships with donors who give through DAFs.

Shop Size:   Suitable for any size shop

Expertise Level: Midcareer, experienced, and veteran fundraiser

About the Speakers



Jackie Ernst is the Director of Philanthropy at the Seattle International Film Festival. Most recently, Jackie was a Consultant at The Ostara Group, where she specialized in individual giving, capital campaigns, and events. Jackie has held fundraising roles at Seattle Opera and the Aspen Music Festival and School. Her board and community involvement includes AFP Advancement Northwest’s mentoring program, the Seattle Symphony Young Patrons Council, and the Uptown Arts and Culture Coalition.

Kari Dasher has served in the nonprofit sector for more than 24 years, specializing in individual giving, department turnarounds and capacity building. She is currently Senior Consultant at The Ostara Group and manages their individual giving team. Her most recent staff job was Director of Development at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. Kari is a certified Master Trainer with AFP International, serves on AdvNW's Board of Directors and has a strong background in equity and justice work. 


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Interpreter services are available upon request during registration.