Improving DAF donations for donors and nonprofits

Chariot began as a passion project among friends who had all committed to donating 10% of their income to charity. They wanted an easier way to track and manage their giving. At first they started building a banking app that automatically stored a percentage of one’s income for charitable purposes. But as they got deeper into the world of philanthropy, they realized there was more exciting potential working with Donor Advised Funds (DAFs).

Donating with DAF usually involves contacting your DAF provider and giving them the information for the nonprofit so they can make the donation. This is cumbersome for donors and requires them to leave the nonprofit’s donation page. Chariot saw an opportunity to cut out the multi-step process donors of contacting their DAF to initiate a donation. It could be as easy as a few clicks.

We realized that…the payment infrastructure for [DAFs] is pretty broken. And so we're like, why don't we, instead of competing with them, fix their biggest pain point, which is the payment infrastructure. 
-Salomon Serfati (Chariot CEO)

So they started building a platform that would provide an easy online giving experience for any DAF. Nonprofits could then add DAF payment buttons to their website so donors could use their DAF in just a few clicks.

A mobile phone with Chariot's user interface on the screen. A user selects their DAF provider, gives login credentials, and completes the donation.

Nonprofit search from

One of the key elements of making this project work was being able to search a full database of every nonprofit in the US and the ability to get their EIN. The options they found at first were prohibitively expensive for a brand new startup trying to get their first version launched. Fortunately the nonprofit search capabilities of the API were a perfect fit.

We knew about other organizations like Candid and GuideStar. That sort of provide that…but it was very expensive for something that we thought was pretty simple. I think it was $2,500 [per year]. And all we wanted was to be able to search nonprofit data.’s API was more of a fit, especially when we were a young company…we just wanted to get off the ground.
-Salomon Serfati (Chariot CEO)

We built this API because we wanted to spur innovations in online giving. The high startup costs for existing nonprofit search and payment processing platforms are a huge hurdle and prevent many good ideas from getting off the ground. Since launching the API we've seen a lot of great new projects like Chariot building new services and experimenting with ways to improve the online giving experience.

Chariot integration on

Chariot and are also working together to bring Chariot’s easy DAF donation capabilities to the donation flow. Keep your eyes open for it as an option with every donation on our platform.

Learn more

Read more about our process and learnings from this pilot in our post: Building a Common Infrastructure for Giving.