Budget vs. Tracking for Donor-Advised Fund

I'm considering setting up a DAF in 2022 and have been going back and forth over how to handle this in YNAB. I plan to move all charitable donations to Fidelity, and I'll have three accounts:

  1. Cash Management (checking)
  2. Brokerage (stock)
  3. DAF (charitable trust)

We'll keep some cash in account 1 for when we want to support a GoFundMe or write someone a check or something. We'll have some investments in account 2, and will then donate appreciated stock to account 3. We'll also contribute directly to the DAF.

Right now, I have a Philanthropy category group in YNAB with a category for each charity to which we donate, and then a "Charitable Gifts" category for those more spontaneous gifts. I really like being able to see in the Income v. Expense report the total going to each charity over time.

Because accounts 2 and 3 are investment accounts, YNAB's default is for them to be off-budget Tracking accounts.

I still want to budget money for the specific charities and also for the "Charitable Gifts" category so we know how much we have available there. But accounts 2 and 3 will fluctuate over time with the market.

Any advice? I'm tempted to collapse everything into "Charitable Gifts," and have that category just be, "Here's how much we put into the Fidelity accounts each month." Then, we just donate through Fidelity and don't track individual donations/transactions in YNAB. The DAF should give us a detailed report, and I could pull transactions from the checking account too if I wanted.

But I've had a detailed approach to tracking for the last couple of years with YNAB and losing that for donations feels really weird and uncontrolled to me. It probably isn't risky, but it feels risky, you know? And yet, trying to have these three accounts on-budget with monthly fluctuations due to market changes feels like it'd be a pain too.

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  • As is often the case, nolesrule had the answer. I love his idea of creating a separate budget for charitable giving so that it's totally separate from our regular budget.

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
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      MStublefield I would have replied here if I had seen it here first. 😂

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