Wealthy clients are usually interested in giving money to charity.
The reasons have been closely studied, and they include fundamental generosity, a sense of responsibility to society, a desire to provide a leg-up for the disadvantaged, and sometimes, a decent tax break. Charitable giving, like any other investment channel, is riddled with pitfalls for the unwary.
As an advisor, clients will be looking to you for advice and counsel. You need to approach the problem systematically and our linked article gives us plenty of down-to-earth advice. Let’s examine it.
Advisors themselves need to be careful about falling into wrong-headed thinking. Many concentrate too much on the tax benefits angle, missing the fact that their wealthy client might have deeper motives. Others fail to discuss charitable giving over the course of the year, believing it’s generally a seasonally motivated activity – giving does in fact spike in the end-of-year holiday season. This discussion is too serious to be left to the final days of the year. Finally, charity is a complex matter and too many advisors think they know how to proceed, when in many cases a specialist’s advice is needed.
When talking to clients about charity, you first need to establish their goals. Put together a checklist. Ask, how important is charitable giving at this stage of your life? Are there any particular issues that pertain directly to you or your family? What causes do you currently support? What sort of legacy do you want to leave behind as a memorial to your hard work in life?
While many clients simply want to make a contribution, others want to establish a long-term vehicle. Ask them, what are your motives – immediate and concrete, or more long-term? Is their family involved? Will they make a single contribution of assets to establish the fund, or provide regular contributions over time? Do they want to control the vehicle themselves or leave matters in the hands of others?
For more information, please read:
Tips for ”the Talk“ | Wealth Management