Total charitable impact


The importance of charity due diligence

Traditionally as a donor, you bear the responsibility to research charities you wish to support to ensure they meet their missions and allow for 100% tax-deductible gifts. Vanguard Charitable takes that obligation out of your hands, and our grants team manages the review and distribution process for you.

We abide by IRS guidelines requiring all charitable dollars to be used to advance the public good. Our grants team follows a set process to review and approve your recommended grants.

We take our grant approval process seriously to protect the tax deductions and philanthropic intentions of our donors, as well as our standing with the IRS. Three main factors are considered before approving your grant recommendation: the recipient charity's tax-exempt status, how it plans to use the money, and any impermissible benefit.

Type of organization

Every organization that receives our grants requires a different review and approval process.


Purpose of grant

When you recommend a charity to receive a grant, you can also choose a specific purpose for the funds. Perhaps you wish to fund a specific project or fund, or maybe you prefer to support a charity's overall mission, allowing the organization to choose how best to spend the grant and satisfy "the greatest need."

We will work with you and charities to support projects that are important to you, while satisfying IRS requirements for granting. The simplest way to recommend a grant is also the most convenient for nonprofit organizations: Designate the charitable dollars for general operating expenses.

Other common grant purposes:
  • Annual fund
  • Capital campaign
  • Capital expenditure
  • Class gift
  • Membership
  • Scholarship program
  • Specific project
  • Underwriting events
Impermissible benefit

Grants that underwrite events or allow for memberships require additional research to be approved because we must ensure the gift will not result in any benefits that would reduce the charitable deduction as if you made the contribution directly from personal funds. If the grant enables an individual to receive special goods or services, such as free tickets to a gala or some membership benefits, or it fulfills a donor's pledge, it cannot be approved.

While donors cannot fulfill pledges with their philanthropic accounts, they can express intent to recommend with an alternative pledge card.

For more information on how grants are vetted through our due diligence process, refer to our Policies and guidelines. For suggestions on effective granting, visit our Resource Center.


1We cannot grant to Type III non-functionally integrated supporting organizations.