Schwab Charitable is well on its way to exceeding past giving records this year, a feat that is being accomplished in part by the response to the crises occurring around the globe, according to Schwab Charitable’s managing director of relationship management Fred Kaynor.

The sponsor of donor advised funds has seen an outpouring of donations due to world events, Kaynor said in an interview. The cascade of crises from the Middle East to the Maui fires, as well as the continuing war in Ukraine, have prompted renewed generosity from clients, he added.

Total giving in the United States actually declined in 2022, according to the Giving USA annual report published earlier this year. It is only the fourth time in four decades that donations have not increased year over year. The decline was attributed economic uncertainty and corresponding market volatility, according to the Giving USA report, which is compiled by the Giving Institute.

Kaynor attributed the projected increase in giving for Schwab Charitable to the structure of donor advised funds, which allows donors to set aside money during stable economic times that can then be distributed when the need arises. Schwab Charitable works with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to vet charities and nonprofits during disasters.

“For Schwab Charitable, we have seen a spike in grants despite market volatility,” Kaynor said. The projections are anecdotal at this point as specifics on the donation and granting levels have not been compiled for this year as yet.

Schwab Charitable reported earlier in the year that its donors increased giving in fiscal year 2023, which ended June 30, exceeding $5 billion in grants to charity. Donors surpassed one million individual grants to charities for the first time in the organization's history and supported more than 120,000 charities throughout the year. The total dollar amount granted to charities represents an 8% increase, or nearly $350 million more for charities, compared to the prior fiscal year, the firm said.

The war in Ukraine has shown that donors are becoming savvier, Kaynor said. Donors realize that help is needed long after the initial crisis. They also are knowledgeable about giving appreciated assets, such as stocks or real estate, which increases the amount that can be given to a charity and provides tax benefits for the donor.

“I’m truly inspired by the generosity of our donors over the last twelve months and proud to share how they put their charitable dollars to work in record-breaking amounts this year,” Sam Kang, president of Schwab Charitable, said when the fiscal year increases were announced. “Donor-advised funds have proven to be a resilient tool for donors, who were able to increase their support of nonprofit organizations despite economic volatility in the last year.”