3 Tips for Talking to Your Clients About Philanthropy

May 22, 2018

As a financial advisor, you’ve probably noticed that your client conversations about philanthropy feel decidedly different than most other topics. Or maybe you haven’t yet raised the topic with your clients, and you’re hesitating.

It’s true that these conversations around charitable giving can be more emotional and personal, but if you’re well-resourced and confident about how to approach these discussions, you’ll likely find yourself looking forward to them!

You’ll want to steer your initial conversations about philanthropy towards meaningful topics like your client’s personal values, rather than focusing exclusively on more technical topics like tax advantages and estate plans.

 Your clients will likely have a cause that’s very close to their hearts – and they’ll want to share it with you. As their trusted financial advisor, here’s how can you make sure your clients feel deeply understood:

1. Lead the way by bringing up the topic early in your working relationship.

Have you been waiting for your client to raise the issue of philanthropy? Your client might be waiting for you to step up and broach the topic. The conversation around charitable giving shouldn’t come up incidentally as a solution to an unrelated tax or estate planning problem. Make the conversation feel more intentional by raising the topic of philanthropy yourself.

2. Learn about your client’s specific motivations for giving by asking the right questions.

These kinds of questions should go far beyond the facts and numbers. Ideally, the questions you ask will present an open-ended invitation for your clients to express themselves.

To get the discussion started, here are some examples of powerful questions:

  • What’s a community, national or international issue you’re truly passionate about?
  • What has motivated you to give to charity in the past?
  • What was special about the cause or charity you chose?
  • Is charitable giving a family value you want to share with the next generation?

3. Develop your expertise in the area of charitable giving.

You might decide to develop your skills by attending planned giving conferences and seminars. Another great option is obtaining The American College’s Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® designation. Practice groups, such as Advisors in Philanthropy or Purposeful Planning Institute, integrate both technical and psycho-social aspects to all types of wealth planning.

To feel most comfortable putting philanthropy in motion for your clients, you should become deeply familiar with charity vehicles like Donor Advised Funds. When you’re fluent in the proven, streamlined systems that aggregate all the relevant tax, estate, and charitable gift information, you’ll give your clients the chance to focus on the intention of their gifts without getting bogged down in the details of their distribution. What a gift to give your clients!

Financial advisors who are well-versed in philanthropy help their clients give exactly how they want to give – and feel great about it in the process. They take complex gifting and personalize a strategy that simplifies giving while strengthening the impact of that generosity. Before you know it, you’ve helped your client create a legacy today that will last for generations.

Got questions about supporting your clients in their charitable giving goals? We’re here to support financial advisors by providing education and adjunct support for your clients. Reach out and let us know how we can help.


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