Opening an account

It’s easy for your clients to open an account online:

  • Name the account. Account names:
    • Must begin with “The” and end with “Fund.”
    • Can’t include the words “trust,” “foundation,” or “endowment,” as they are terms for other charitable giving options.
    • May be changed at any time with signed permission from all account advisors.
    • Can be as creative as your clients like. While accounts are often named after account advisors, they do not have to be (e.g., The Northern Sky Fund). 
  • Identify account advisors (see below).
  • Provide contact information.
  • Select legacy options.


Vanguard Charitable designates accounts as either Standard or Select, based on account balance and activity. Account status determines an account's administrative and investment fee schedule. Qualifying accounts with ongoing balances of more than $1 million are eligible for Select status and additional benefits, including reduced administrative and investment fees, enhanced service, and a dedicated representative.

The people or entities associated with an account have varying roles within the account. The roles affect account privileges, access to account information, and eligibility to receive tax benefits.

To best assist your clients, suggest they designate you as an interested party.


Donors contribute to a Vanguard Charitable account. Vanguard Charitable donors can be individuals, corporations, private foundations, partnerships, trusts, and other charitable organizations. Donors are often also account advisors (see below).

Eligible donors will receive a tax substantiation letter acknowledging assets contributed to Vanguard Charitable.

Additional donors who don’t have advisory rights may also contribute to the account. Their contributions may qualify for a tax deduction.


Account advisors

An account advisor is typically the donor who opens the account. Account advisors have primary responsibility for certain account activities. They name the account, recommend an initial investment allocation, and establish a succession plan for the account.

Each account can have up to two account advisors, who receive equal access and privileges to the account. While some account activities must be initiated and approved by all account advisors, many may be completed by one account advisor.

Upon the death or incapacity of an advisor, the remaining advisor can nominate a second advisor. Succession plans are enacted when all account advisors are unable or unwilling to manage the account.



Successor-advisors may be nominated in an account’s succession plan to act as account advisor when all current account advisors either resign or are unable to act due to incapacity or death. Successor-advisors have no account privileges until that time.

Interested parties

Interested parties are nominated by account advisors to receive account access, information, and advisory privileges at one of three levels in the chart below. This role is important for a financial advisor, accountant, or family member whom the account advisors wish to provide some level of account access, involve in charitable planning, or help manage the account.1

1While professional advisors may be named as interested parties on accounts, Vanguard Charitable does not provide financial compensation or any commission to them for their role as interested parties or for recommending our services and/or donor-advised accounts to their client(s).
2Individuals with paper statement access only will be denoted online as interested parties with “no access.”

The initial contribution minimum is $25,000. Contributions can be initiated online or by completing the appropriate forms.

Vanguard Charitable will liquidate the contributed assets and the proceeds will be allocated into investment options recommended by the donor.

The account is then ready to grant to public charities based on an account advisor's recommendations.