How to open a Schwab Charitable™ account

Schwab Charitable is an independent 501(c)(3) public charity Tooltip with a mission to increase charitable giving in the United States by providing a tax-smart and simple giving solution to donors and their investment advisors. A Schwab Charitable donor-advised fund account can be a valuable wealth-planning tool that enables clients to give more strategically. You can open a Schwab Charitable account for your client online using Digital Account Open Tool, DocuSign®, or paper forms.

Accounts that you open for clients will be linked to your master account and you will automatically have view-only privileges.


To open a Schwab Charitable account, you will need the following:

All accounts
  • For all account holders: name, home address, Social Security number, birthdate, telephone numbers, employment status, employer, and occupation
  • Contribution funding source information, including financial firm name, account number, security name, symbol, and shares, if applicable
  • Adobe® Reader® or Adobe Acrobat® 7.0 or higher (download the latest version on the Adobe website)
In addition to the information above, the following may be required:
Client preferences
  • Specialized account name Tooltip (for example, Client Family Charitable Fund) 
    Successors to succeed as account holders in case of death or incapacity (name, mailing address, Social Security number (SSN), phone number, and email address) 
    Charitable organization beneficiaries to receive remaining assets (name, address, tax identification number, and phone number)
Decision on account type
  • Choose which account type to open:
    • Core—no minimum
    • Professionally managed account (PMA) – minimum irrevocable contribution of $100,000
Professionally managed accounts
  • A completed Schwab Charitable Investment Advisory Agreement form (required), signed by the advisor
  • A completed Schwab Charitable Agency Agreement for Conveying Account Holder's Grant Recommendations form (optional) signed by the client and advisor
Account opening method

If using DocuSign to submit forms:

  • For existing Schwab clients, a complete Schwab Advisor Center® profile with the account holder's current email address and mobile phone number
  • For new-to-Schwab clients, the email address and a mobile phone number
  • All clients must use either Alliance Authentication (only available when starting the envelope within Schwab Advisor Center), or, both text message (SMS) authentication and Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) for DocuSign (available in both Schwab Advisor Center and the DocuSign Console
Digital Account Open

If using Digital Account Open Tool to submit forms:

  • Access to the appropriate Digital Account Open Tooltip  Tool security function.
  • For existing Schwab clients, a complete Schwab Advisor Center (SAC) profile with the account holder's current email address and mobile phone number
  • For new-to-Schwab clients, the email address and mobile phone number for text authentication or phone call for Digital Account Open.


This process is used to open a Schwab Charitable account using Digital Account Open (DAO).

  1. Go to the Account Management tab on Schwab Advisor Center and click Open and fund an account in the Digital workflows section.
  2. In Select Account Types, from the drop-down list, select the Master Account in which the new account will be listed.
  3. Select Schwab Charitable Donor-Advised Fund to open and click Next.
  4. In Select & Assign Clients, select the Primary and Secondary Donors.
    1. From Recent Contacts on the left, select contact name(s) to drag and drop into the designated contact box. A summary of the contact's details is displayed within the box. The fields can be edited by clicking Edit link. The X link removes an incorrect contact from the box, if needed, and the process starts over.
    2. Locate contacts by using the Search by client name, SSN or account number function on Schwab Advisor Center. Click the magnifying glass icon to search. In Search for a Client Window, click Select the Client Name.
    3. Create a new contact and enter profile information. Click Save & Add.
  5. Click Prepare Documents. Confirm the account holder name is displayed in the following window and click Next. The following information must be provided:
    • Account Information:
      • Advisor privileges: read-only (default) or Agent
      • Charitable special account name
      • Source of funds
    • Succession planning is optional for the advisor
      • If provided by advisor-Read-only for the client to approve
      • If not provided by advisor-Optional for Primary donor to include
    • Account allocation using the 15 available pools must equal 100%
    • Account contribution can be in any amount
      • This could be an asset transfer from a Schwab Account (a job will be created to complete the asset transfer once account is opened)
      • Asset held at Other Institution- If your clients will be transferring assets from another firm, fill out the Schwab Charitable Transfer of Assets form
  6. Click Next.
  7. In Finalize Digital Envelope, review the information displayed. If changes are required, click Edit and return to the Donor selection and make required changes. Send envelope to client when information has been verified.
How to work with DAO envelopes previously saved as draftsSelect Save and Exit digital envelope in progress. You can return to your work later by navigating to the Manage Schwab envelopes page. From there, go to Schwab Envelopes for Additional Workflows available in the blue shaded section at the top of the page.
How to void an existing envelopeFind the envelope on the Schwab Envelopes for Additional Workflows page and select Cancel under Next Steps to void request.

This process is used to open a Schwab Charitable account using DocuSign. For details, see How to use DocuSign®.

  1. Select the Schwab Charitable Account Application for Donor-Advised Fund Account form. Complete all applicable sections. 
  2. Collect all other required non-Schwab documentation from the account holder instructing Schwab to change the title on the account or disburse assets.

This process is used to open a Schwab Charitable account using paper forms.

  1. Navigate to the Schwab Charitable Account Application for Donor-Advised Fund Account form in the Forms library page on Schwab Advisor Center and select Download PDF. If your clients will be transferring assets from another firm, also fill out the Schwab Charitable Transfer of Assets form.
  2. Complete all necessary fields and ensure all additional privileges the client requested are added.
  3. Print the form(s) and obtain signatures from all account holders. Send the signed forms via Schwab Advisor Center service request, via fax to Schwab Charitable at 877-535-3852 or via mail.
  • Standard delivery:
    Schwab Charitable
    P.O. Box 628298
    Orlando, FL 32862
  • Overnight delivery
    Schwab Charitable
    1958 Summit Park Dr., Suite 200
    Orlando, FL 32810

Once you submit your request:

  • If the forms were submitted using Digital Account Open tool, the following occurs:
    • The client/prospect receives an email asking them to authenticate themselves.
      • Existing clients use their (or credential to authenticate. Existing clients without a credential set one up within this process.
    • Prospects, new-to-Schwab clients, or existing clients without a credential go through a multi-factor authentication process. After clicking the invitation email, your client is prompted to receive a PIN via text message or automated call. The signer is asked to verify the mobile phone number used to receive an access code and click Send Text.
      • Within a short time, the signer receives a text message with the access code to enter on the Authentication window on their computer. Once authenticated, the user can set up their login ID and Password.
  • After authentication, the signer can review the information in the envelope. If mistakes are found, they cancel the envelope and contact their advisor. The advisor also receives an alert. A new envelope must be created and sent to your client.
  • The signer reviews the user agreement and consents to use electronic signature. They complete the signing process by reviewing documents, updating required fields, and electronically signing the documents.
  • When additional account holders are assigned, the primary signer begins the account approval process. Secondary account holders will be prompted to initiate their own process after Primary donor completes their process.
  • Navigate to the Manage Schwab envelopes page and then click Schwab Envelopes for Additional Workflows at the top which shows when the envelope was sent, completed, voided, expired, or that the signer has declined or failed authentication. Alerts will be created when:
    • your client has an undeliverable email address
    • your client failed authentication or declined to sign
    • envelope is ready for review or was submitted directly to Schwab
  • Clients have 15 days from envelope creation to eSign forms, and advisors have 90 days to view the envelope and submit to Schwab, if necessary.
  • When all donors have approved, you can submit the envelope to Schwab for final processing.
  • Upon submitting to Schwab, the account number is generated, but the data is sent to Schwab for final processing. This can include linking other master accounts, processing Margin and/or Option requests, or other account features specific to the advisor.
  • To review applications in progress:
    • Go to the Account Management tab on Schwab Advisor Center and click on Manage Schwab envelopes under the Digital workflows section and then click Schwab Envelopes for Additional Workflows at the top of the page to see a list of all digital envelopes. Sort the columns alphabetically or chronologically. Review the Status column for the latest information on the envelope. Review the Next Steps column for different actions to take. To send out a reminder email to your client to review the envelope, select Send Reminder.
  • If submitted using DocuSign, see the What's next? section of How to use DocuSign.
  • Schwab Charitable Operations opens the account and links the account to the appropriate Financial Advisor (FA) master account. If you have questions, call your Schwab service team or Schwab Charitable Donor Relations at 800-746-6216.

To select a form, go to the Forms library on Schwab Advisor Center.  

Form: Schwab Charitable Account Application for Donor-Advised Fund Account
Form: Schwab Charitable Agency Agreement for Conveying Account Holder's Grant Recommendations
Form: Schwab Charitable Contribute to Your Donor-Advised Fund Account
Form: Schwab Charitable Investment Advisory Agreement
Form: Schwab Charitable Recommend a Grant to Charity
Form: Schwab Charitable Update Basic Account Information
Form: Schwab Charitable Update Investment Advisor & Account Conversion
Form: Schwab Charitable Update Investment Pools
Form: Schwab Charitable Update Succession Plan
Form: Schwab Charitable Transfer of Assets
Form: Schwab Charitable Investment Policy Statement
Resource: Giving to charity
Resource: Granting Guidelines for Events, Memberships, and Pledges
Resource: Program Policies
Resource: Initiating Charitable Conversations with Clients
Resource: Schwab Charitable account tutorials for advisors
Resource: Schwab Charitable account tutorials for donors
Resource: Schwab Charitable Website
Resource: Benefits of Donating Appreciated Non-Cash Assets to Charity

What kind of assets can my clients contribute?
Clients can contribute cash and publicly traded securities, including stocks, most mutual fund shares, and bonds. Some restricted or privately held stock may be accepted. Cash contributions must be made in U.S. dollars and delivered by check or wire only. Contribution forms are available online.

Contributions of certain real estate, private equity or other illiquid assets may be accepted with proceeds of your donation transferred to your donor-advised account upon liquidation. Call Schwab Charitable for more information at 800-746-6216.

Whom do I call with questions about Schwab Charitable or complex assets?
Contact your Schwab Charitable ConsultantIf your firm does not currently have relationship with Schwab Charitable, contact the Schwab Charitable Business Development team at 855-966-3764 or 

What client account information can I access on Schwab Advisor Center?
For linked Schwab Charitable accounts, you can elect to view:

  • Account balances
  • A client history of grants and contributions
  • Copies of tax receipts for each contribution to the donor-advised account
  • Copies of grant letters with the check sent to the charity receiving a grant

Can assets be managed by my firm, and can I select investments other than the investment pools offered by Schwab Charitable?
Yes. For accounts of $100,000 or more, the client may elect that the account be professionally managed, a feature that allows you to manage the assets in the account. Assets may be invested in a wide variety of publicly traded securities, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in any combination.

Can clients plan for a successor on the account and involve family members?
Yes. Clients are encouraged to utilize their Schwab Charitable account as a vehicle for establishing a legacy of giving. Only clients may recommend individuals as successors on their Schwab Charitable account or may recommend specific charities as beneficiaries. Clients can include family members and children of legal age (18) by listing them as account holders or successors on the account. However, investment advisors who become successors can no longer receive a fee from the account for managing the investments. You may wish to encourage the client to name someone else as successor or to select the Schwab Charitable Legacy Program.

How to use a Schwab Charitable™ donor-advised fund account
How to use DocuSign®
Introduction to Schwab Charitable™