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Hi all!

I am happy to announce that we are introducing donation gift vouchers (German: Spendengutscheine) at Effektiv Spenden for this giving season! It's a great way to get friends and family thinking about Effective Giving - because the voucher recipient decides which of our recommended charities the donation will go to!

The vouchers work like this:

  • You buy a voucher via our website: https://effektiv-spenden.org/spendengutschein/ (The page is in german, but you can toggle the linked form to english.)
  • After completing payment, you receive a voucher code by email and forward it to the recipient.
  • The recipient redeems it via our website and gets to choose which of our recommended charities the donation will go to.


Main goals

Effective Giving Promotion: The vouchers can help introduce and discuss the principles of Effective Giving with family and friends.

Corporate Engagement: We also offer voucher purchase in bulk for organizations that want to send out gifts to their employees, clients, or business partners. See https://effektiv-spenden.org/spendengutschein-unternehmen/

Tax Deductibility in Germany and Switzerland: From a tax perspective the donation comes from the voucher buyer, so German and Swiss nationals benefit from the tax deductibility of voucher purchases like with regular donations. (If you reside in a different country this might not be possible.)



If you have any bug reports, questions, or feedback about the product, let me know in the comments or via tilman.masur@effektiv-spenden.org.


Happy giving!





Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:54 PM

What a nice idea! I'd buy this for a friend where I'd feel less comfortable making a donation in their name.

Question: What will you do with the un-redeemed vouchers?

In commerce, the company just keeps the money at a tidy profit. Would Effektiv Spenden just keep it?

Hi Bella,
thank you!
No, after 12 months we forwards the donation to our global health and poverty fund (https://effektiv-spenden.org/spendenfonds-armut-bekaempfen/ , german only). So in any case 100% of the donation benefits effective charities :)

Nice work!! Love it 🥰

This is something I’ve been thinking about for GWWC but haven’t yet figured out the legalities (especially trying to avoid being seen as a Donor Advised Fund).

Could you say a bit more about why you're concerned this would make EVF a DAF operator?

Per EVF's Terms and Conditions at 1.3:

Donors to EVF may make recommendations to EVF, on how EVF should spend the funds. Recommendations may include: asking EVF to donate to the specific charities which it has listed on the EVF Sites ("Eligible Charities"), or asking EVF to use their donation for the specific pool of donations which will be used for charities working in a particular area ("Funds").

EVF will consider Supporters' preferred Eligible Charities or Funds when determining any grant to, or allocation of donations between, the Eligible Charities and Funds (as applicable), but each Supporter agrees that EVF's decision on the allocation or grant of all donations, including any associated Gift Aid, is final and may be made in EVF's sole discretion.

In other words, don't people who give on the GWWC website technically make a non-binding recommendation to EVF as to which charity it should regrant those funds? I believe GiveWell and TLYCS work on a similar paradigm. 

The only difference here seems to be that the donor-to-EVF is delegating the power to make the non-binding recommendation to a third party. I'm not sure why that would change EVF's status from not-running-a-DAF to running-a-DAF.

Yep. Plus:

  1. the recommendations are as the donation is made (not after which is the case with a DAF and is why the donation gift card might be difficult as the allocation comes afterward)
  2. the programs are restricted (whereas DAFs give unrestricted funding)

A DAF let’s you donate to a fund that you ~control so you can later make unrestricted donations from to charities registered in the same country that the DAF is registered in, whereas GWWC/LTYCS/GiveWell etc can receive donations to program restrictions (eg bednets) and then make restricted grants based on the allocations of donors made at the time of donation to programs that are delivered by partners located ~anywhere.

(Excuse my brevity, typing on the phone.)

Treasury just came out with proposed regulations defining a DAF -- and I must say, I find them pretty badly done for something that has been in the works for seventeen years!

The temporal difference could be outcome-determinative here. But I'm having a hard time distinguishing gift cards from allowing the donor to amend a recommendation (e.g., the intervention was proven ineffective after the donation but before the disbursement) or to supply one if originally omitted (e.g., I forgot to fill out GiveWell's allocation form prior to sending a check or authorizing an ACH). 

I don't think it's inherent to a DAF that the regrant is unrestricted to specific purposes or that the donor's options for a recommendation are pretty wide open. The statute and proposed regs tell us that an org that regrants to only a single identified organization that meets certain criteria isn't a DAF, which suggests that an org that regrants to two or more could be.

One plausible reading of the proposed regs would be that any regranting organization that allowed donors to change recommendations, or consulted donors post-donation to the extent that consultation would rise to the level of "advisory privileges," would be a DAF. 

In other words, if a gap in time between donation and recommendation makes a regranting organization a DAF, then a lot of regranting orgs may need to tighten up their policies and practices if they don't want to be a DAF. I'm not sure whether to blame Treasury or Congress more for this mess.

As Jason wrote, legally it's a non-binding recommendation by the person who receives the voucher + if we don't receive such a recommendation within 12 month after the code was created the money (donation) goes to GiveWells All Grants Fund. So it's not a DAF (which don't exist in Germany anyway). If you really want to donate now but decide where the money should go (much) later we have a different product: https://effektiv-spenden.org/blog/effektiv-spenden-depot/ (also not a real DAF though).

Thanks for sharing!

Great idea! This could be a great way to think of gift ideas and get more people to donate around holidays/special events. I wonder if there's room to expand/proliferate projects like this...

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