Offer advice on charitable giving

July 16, 2012 | Last updated on July 16, 2012
2 min read

Do your clients give to charity? As financial markets improve, they may be more willing to open their hearts and wallets.

Whether they donate annually to major organizations or simply support friends running a marathon, you might be able to help, says the Fidelity Charitable Advice & Giving survey.

While many advisors talk to their prospects and clients about their income, wealth planning and life goals, almost half (44%) avoid the topic of charitable giving. By doing so, though, they’re missing out on both business and relationship growth opportunities.

Read: Charitable giving: a win-win-win proposition

Consider this: by asking about donation habits and goals, you’re learning more about their financial lives.

You can also offer tax planning deduction tips, advice on how they can fit donating into their budget and—for wealthy clients—information on different donation vehicles and options that offer savings on administration costs, flexibility and anonymity, for example.

Additionally, people often leave money to a charity in their will; the late Nicholas Newlife, for example, left his entire estate and the outcomes of several sporting wagers to Oxfam, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the globe. The charity recently received over £100,000 after one of his tennis bets came through.

So, by offering advice on donating, you can expand your services into several new areas for your clients and potentially attract new prospects. It’s key to brush up on your charitable giving knowledge and gauge how many of your clients currently donate.

“We hesitated to offer advice around charitable giving when we started our practice,” says Christopher M. Begg, founding principal of East Coast Asset Management, told Fidelity Charitable. “But since we started offering the service, have found proactively discussing donation planning strategies, vehicles, and tax implications has strengthened our relationships and helped grow our practice.”

The knowledge has helped position them as broad financial experts and allowed them to manage more assets.

Expanding your expertise and experience in the field can also lead to multigenerational relationships for some advisors, says the study. A number of children wish to follow their parent’s footsteps and desire advice on how to give to charity successfully and securely.

To bring up the topic with your clients, look at these three areas:

Estate planning: Have they included charitable giving?

Income level: Have they recently received a promotion or raise?

Tax planning: Make sure they don’t overlook deductions.

Also, the majority of advisors (74%) coordinate with either in-house or external financial specialists to offer comprehensive advice on charitable planning.

More information on clients who donate and how you can assist them:

Charitable giving survives economic woes

Philanthropy rounds out planning

Charitable tax credits flexible after death

Talking charity

Guided giving

Tis the season for charity scams

4 questions for clients putting charities in their wills

The anonymous donor

Legal pitfalls of charity pledges