The Birth of a New Philanthropic Approach
In an era where technology permeates every aspect of our lives, Adam Nash is pioneering a transformation in the realm of philanthropy. As the founder of Daffy, which stands for Donor-Advised Fund for You, Nash has set out to make charitable giving a regular part of everyone’s financial planning. “Daffy is about making charitable giving accessible and habitual for everyone, not just the affluent,” says Nash, encapsulating the vision behind his innovative platform.

The inspiration for Daffy was born out of the pandemic in 2020. Nash, who had recently left his role at Dropbox, saw firsthand how communities rallied to support each other during those trying times. With a rich background in leading product and growth at tech giants like Dropbox, LinkedIn, and eBay, Nash wondered why such a significant aspect of financial services—charitable giving—had been largely overlooked by technology. His previous experiences with Wealthfront and Acorns, companies that revolutionized financial advice and savings, respectively, made him realize the potential for similar innovation in the nonprofit sector. “If we can do this for spending, saving, and investments, why can’t we do it for giving?” he pondered.

Simplifying Charitable Giving: The Role of Donor-Advised Funds
At the heart of Daffy’s approach is the donor-advised fund (DAF), a tax-advantaged account that allows individuals to set aside money for charity, receive an immediate tax deduction, and later donate to any legal charity in the U.S. Nash explains, “A donor-advised fund is another type of tax-advantaged account in the U.S., right? We have 401(k)s and IRAs for retirement. There are 529 plans to help you save for college. And a donor-advised fund is a tax-advantaged account where you can put money aside for charity, immediately get the tax deduction.”

Daffy differentiates itself by making this financial tool accessible through an easy-to-use app, eliminating the high minimums and fees typically associated with traditional DAFs. By simply downloading the app or visiting the website, users can open an account, set their annual giving goals, and automate their contributions. This process encourages regular giving and makes it as straightforward as managing other financial goals. The platform supports various funding methods, including bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and even Apple Pay, making it incredibly user-friendly.

Addressing Criticisms and Enhancing Donor Engagement
Donor-advised funds have not been without criticism. Some argue that these funds can lead to the warehousing of charitable dollars, delaying their deployment to those in need. Nash acknowledges this concern but believes it stems from a misunderstanding of how most people use these funds. “The research says that if you set a goal for your giving, you automate it, you put it aside regularly, you will end up giving 32% more,” he points out. This behavior mirrors other financial goals, such as saving for retirement, where automation significantly boosts success rates.

Nash emphasizes that criticisms often confuse the actions of the ultrawealthy with those of the average donor. “If you are worried about billionaires putting aside billions and getting a tax deduction, but not actually putting the money to work… I hear you. But that would be a little bit like judging retirement accounts by being upset that Peter Thiel has billions in a Roth IRA,” he explains. Daffy’s mission is to empower everyday people to give more effectively and regularly, addressing the real needs of communities.

Empowering Generosity Through Technology
Looking to the future, Nash sees technology playing a pivotal role in enhancing donor engagement and participation. His vision extends beyond just creating a financial product; he aims to build a community and a platform that connects millions of nonprofit organizations with tens of millions of potential donors. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could actually have this community where it was possible to discover those organizations and those organizations had a place they could go to find people who cared?” he muses.

Nash draws parallels to his experiences at eBay and LinkedIn, where technology facilitated robust marketplaces and professional networks. He envisions a similar transformation for philanthropy, where technology can bridge the gap between nonprofits seeking support and individuals eager to contribute. This vision underscores Daffy’s potential to not only simplify the act of giving but also to foster a more connected and engaged philanthropic community.

In conclusion, Adam Nash’s Daffy is set to revolutionize how we think about and practice charitable giving. By leveraging technology to make donor-advised funds accessible to everyone, Nash is not only simplifying philanthropy but also encouraging a culture of regular, thoughtful generosity. As Nash succinctly puts it, “Our mission at Daffy is to help people be more generous more often.” Through innovation and a deep understanding of financial behaviors, Daffy is poised to make a significant impact on the world of giving.

To listen to the full interview or read the transcript, just click here.

Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving serves as a Trusted Advisor and Executive Coach to Nonprofit Leaders. His Book, The Business of Giving: New Best Practices for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leaders in an Uncertain World, is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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