At Daffy, we’re on a mission to help people be more generous, more often, and to fulfill that mission, we’re building a brand-new, modern donor-advised fund, designed from the ground up for this purpose. In addition to building and releasing new product features to help you give, we’re building a talented team at Daffy.
We’ve recently welcomed Lorie Lambert as our Head of Donor-Advised Fund of Aside, Inc., the cloud-based technology platform which supports Daffy. Lorie joins us after more than 12 years at Schwab Charitable and with a lifelong career in and personal passion for philanthropy. She’s focused on driving product innovations to help people make giving a habit and increase the amount of support going to non-profits in need.
Since Lorie has incredible expertise in the space and already has been adding value since day one here at Daffy, we sat down with Lorie for a short Q&A, so you can get to know her and learn why we’re so excited about having her at the helm.
Why is giving back important to you?
I believe that we are all responsible for the world around us and that philanthropy can be a high-impact way to make a positive difference. Volunteering and giving back also gives us an opportunity to see the world beyond our own day-to-day experiences - it can open our eyes to all the beauty out there as well as all the hardship. And as the mother of two young children, focusing on philanthropy as a family helps us discuss important issues while giving us a positive channel to be a part of the solution. It is always so inspiring to learn about nonprofits and community leaders that are working so hard to solve our most challenging issues.
What causes are you most passionate about?
This is a really hard question for me as there are so many different causes that demand our attention these days. As a long-time San Francisco resident, I’ve tended to focus on local causes and charities, such as Project Homeless Connect, the SF-Marin Food Bank, and San Francisco Public Library. For several years I was on the board of an organization in the Tenderloin district that provided a safe space for the neighborhood’s youth and elderly.
Today, I continue to support these organizations, but, as new parents, my husband and I have shifted our focus a bit to education. We currently volunteer at and financially support a great nonprofit called Reading Partners, which helps children read at grade level by providing one-on-one tutoring within their current public school environment. Lastly, we have set aside money each year to donate to the most pressing needs at the time, such as supporting victims of natural or man-made disasters.
You've had a long career working for non-profits and studied social welfare at UC Berkeley, what drew you to this area?
Throughout high school and college, I spent a lot of time volunteering with local organizations that served populations in the Bay Area that were living such a different experience than I grew up with. Witnessing this inequity, especially in an area as prosperous as the Bay Area, made me want to learn more about how we got here. At Cal, I learned more acutely how our history, laws, and institutions perpetuated this inequality and the massive hurdles that people have to overcome to reach a decent quality of life. I knew that I needed to stay in the philanthropic world and be part of the solution.
You spent over 12 years at Schwab Charitable, how did you land there?
Craigslist Jobs! Once I chatted with them, I was drawn into the world of donor-advised funds because it felt like I could have a large-scale impact without having to select a particular cause (there are so many!). Their mission to increase charitable giving overall and to democratize it beyond the ultra-wealthy really resonated with me. The more people that get involved with philanthropy, the more the sector benefits from a diversity of thought and funding.
The twelve years that I was there was a very exciting time. After the financial crisis, we really saw donor-advised funds take off. When I joined Schwab Charitable, it was sending about $250 million to over 20,000 charities each year. By the time I left, we were sending out almost $2 billion to around 100,000 charities. And the majority of those donations happened in December, which created a fun and buzzy all-hands-on-deck culture during the holidays. I learned a ton over those 12 years and was fortunate to be supported and challenged by the wonderful leadership at Schwab Charitable.
During your time there, what did you find surprising about charitable giving?
Overall I was inspired by the extent to which people give - there are many generous people out there at all income levels. I also found the patterns of how individual families support charity to be fascinating. While there were definitely some people that were very intentional with their giving, it seemed like most families were pretty reactive in their giving. They would have their personal set of organizations they support every year (schools, churches, possibly a health-related org that impacted someone they love), but the rest of their discretionary funds were mainly given out when they were asked by their network. Having been on a nonprofit board, the number one thing you are taught is that someone won’t give unless they are asked. And yet, asking your friends and professional network for money can be really hard. I think it’s a good reminder that people are generous and yet they are busy - if you are passionate about a cause share that with your friends and family, and more often than not, they will be happy to support you.
This is one of the reasons why I’m excited to join Daffy. Beyond the tax benefits of a donor-advised fund (which, honestly, everyone should have access to and may be able to benefit from), we’re passionate about giving people the tools to be much more intentional with their giving as well as creating the space to share your favorite causes with your personal and professional networks.
Tell us more about why you joined Daffy.
From the moment I was connected to the founders of Daffy through a mutual friend, I knew this was a project I wanted to be a part of. Daffy has the potential to be so much more than the traditional donor-advised fund that I know so well, and I’m excited to learn from and work with the amazing team they have already put together. I love that Daffy is focused on growing members and not assets under management and has already created a mobile-first charitable platform that is accessible to many more people. Adam and Alejandro have a vision to create a community around giving that will not only connect our members to each other but also give the charities a compelling way to connect with our members. I believe Daffy will inspire even more people to be active members of their community through giving and volunteering and the compounding impacts of that will be felt around the globe.
What do you want to accomplish in your first year at Daffy?
I’m amazed at what the team has already built: the first and only full-featured donor-advised fund app in the App Store, where you can open an account, add funds, and make donation recommendations right from your phone. I’m excited to continue to push the envelope on what a modern, mobile-first DAF platform can be. This year, I have two main focuses: one, continue to redefine what a modern, best-in-class, donor-advised fund platform is, and two, learn from our members and the charities that we support what they need to strengthen and accelerate their efforts.
How has charitable giving changed over the last decade?
What a wild ride the last several years have been. One thing that has come out of the chaos is that people are getting involved in their communities in record numbers. So many people have realized that not only does their vote matter but that they can vote with their wallets and time. It is up to nonprofits to really seize this moment and find ways to connect and involve their donors. Donors want to know that they are having an impact; they want to know what the cutting-edge research says and fund innovative ways to really solve problems at their roots. Daffy will be an important tool in that communication challenge and I’m excited to see how it changes philanthropy for the better.