Starting the Conversation
As a professional advisor, you play an important role in helping your clients achieve their charitable wishes. It may not enter your mind when you are advising your clients, but research shows that your clients are waiting for you to ask.
Your clients are increasing their knowledge about charitable giving options. They expect you, their advisor, to help create innovative, comprehensive financial plans that take care of their families, minimize taxes, and, more importantly, reflect their values.
It is most productive to approach the subject in a way that generates a thoughtful rather than a reactive response. Consider incorporating questions like these in the course of your normal discussions with clients:
- Have you ever thought about what kind of personal legacy you want to leave?
- What principles have guided the way you’ve lived your life? Raised your family? Run your business?
- Do you currently volunteer at or financially support any charitable organizations, such as a house of worship, your alma mater, or a local arts association, social service agency, or civic group?
- Are you interested in supporting such organizations after your death?
Another option is to share with your clients a piece we developed called Deciding to Give. This handout includes 12 basic questions that can be given before or after a client meeting and directs your client to talk further with you, their trusted advisor.
If you’d find it helpful to hear from some of your peers here in Maine, you can read stories shared by Maine attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors about how and why they talk with their clients about charitable giving
And if for some reason you’re not comfortable raising these questions -- don’t worry, we are. We’re just a phone call or a click away. Contact Jennifer Southard, vice president, donor services and gift planning, at (207) 761-2440 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.