Why, Who, When, and How

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy provides this information to support your work with your clients who might consider charitable giving in their financial and estate planning.

Why should you help your clients consider charitable giving?
Your clients are increasing their knowledge about options and expecting you, their advisors, to help them create innovative, comprehensive financial plans that take care of their families and friends, avoid taxes and reflect their values.

“Many high-wealth donors want to be guided in their philanthropy to achieve important personal and social objectives. They want help in creating comprehensive and cohesive giving programs, and to acquire the tools necessary to become effective donors.” 
from Doing Well by Doing Good, a survey report published by The Philanthropic Initiative, 2000 (p.10)

Confronted with the task of transferring assets from one generation to another, people in Connecticut are increasingly choosing to integrate charitable giving into their planning to realize personal as well as financial benefits. Click on the link below to see the statistics that support this statement.

Who is in need of your help?
Recognizing that all clients may want to pass on their values through a charitable legacy is important to your success. In particular, clients who come to mind include the following:  

  • Un-married
  • Married, without children
  • Married couples who have independent children
  • Widows
  • People with an existing relationship to a cause or community organization People who are financially comfortable but not necessarily wealthy
  • Owners of privately held companies
  • Owners of appreciated securities or real estate 

When should you raise the subject of charitable giving?
Circumstances in clients’ lives usually cause them to begin or alter their financial plans, including charitable giving. The following scenarios might signal an opportunity for a discussion about planning and how charitable giving can help achieve their goals . . . 

  • Your clients tell you that they are about to take their company public, or that they want to transfer ownership of the family business to the next generation. 
  • Your client tells you he wants more income from his stock but worries about capital gains tax if he sells. 
  • Your client discovers he has a large retirement fund of which his heirs will receive only 25¢ to 30¢ on the dollar.  
  • Your client says she would like to provide income to her mother, sister, niece, or others. 
  • Your client tells you that she is expecting a big bonus from her company.

How do you initiate a conversation on charitable interests?
You see the opportunity and recognize the circumstance that may trigger new client needs, but how do you, as the advisor, ask the question that opens the door for a meaningful discussion with your client? Most clients don’t know what they can accomplish through the estate planning process. To help clients explore the options, you should ask them to express their thinking about their values and aspirations. Discussing philanthropy with your clients can be done in a way that respects their privacy, values and autonomy. Sample conversation starters are included in the materials below.Gives you the Why, Who, When and How to discuss charitable giving with your clients.