For those who think charitable giving is all about tax savings and nothing more — think again. Having a dialogue with your clients is simply good business.
For most people the subject of charitable giving is one that arises toward the end of each year when it comes time to consider one’s tax situation. But the reality is that charitable giving is a subject advisors should be discussing with clients throughout the year.
“We talk to families every day about charitable giving and planning for giving,” says Houston-based U.S. Trust advisor Samantha Kennedy in a recent article
by Financial Planning magazine. “Our clients these days are interested in donating their money where it helps to solve a problem and where they can see results in their lifetime.”
Quite simply, clients just want to do good.
Advisors that understand this philosophy put themselves in a position to win with clients. But before they can truly play the game they have to get involved in their own charitable projects and causes.
Dodee Crockett is a wealth management advisor in Dallas who believes almost all of her clients have come to her over her 30-year career because of her involvement in various philanthropic causes.
“I tell advisors who don’t understand this passion their clients have for doing good with their money to just find something they themselves are passionate about, and to get engaged in it,” says Crockett.
“What issue that might be isn’t important — it’s the passion. Because you’re not going to be effective with clients if you aren’t giving your own time energy and money to some philanthropic endeavor.”
Still not convinced?
Another U.S. Trust advisor, Claire Costello, works in the bank’s Philanthropic Solutions Group. Her experience with philanthropy paints a simple picture. “We find that one out of three of our clients,” says Costello, “chooses a financial advisor specifically because that advisor is good at the philanthropic stuff.”
When told of this stat by WP, Victoria-based Raymond James
advisor Sybil Verch wasn’t surprised.
“Advisors should really ask the question,” says Verch. “It should be part of the information gathering process to really know your client. You know about their family but do you know about the other causes they support. What’s important to them?”
“If you don’t ask because you feel uncomfortable you’re missing an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your client and if they do have causes that are important to them and they’re spending money on, that is an important thing to note when doing their financial plan.”
Verch finishes the discussion with these important words.
“I feel advisors aren’t doing their job if they don’t ask [about philanthropy].”
So, the next time you’re sitting down with a client to discuss potential tax savings, these very successful advisors would tell you to lead with a discussion on philanthropy and charitable giving instead.
Your bank account will thank you.