FA Magazine March 2023 | Page 28

Hannah Shaw Grove

4 Common Mistakes In Charitable Giving Conversations

Follow these tips for effective interactions and deeper connections with clients .


HILANTHROPY IS IMPORTANT AND MEANINGFUL TO YOUR wealthy clients , not simply as a smart tax strategy but as a way to invest in their families , their communities and their futures . By offering counsel to your clients about their charitable giving , you find opportunities to know them on a deeper , more meaningful level . The first step is to gain an understanding about their goals , priorities and challenges .
You also want to make sure to avoid these four common mistakes when starting conversations about charitable giving with them .
Leading With Tax Benefits
Wealth advisors sometimes assume that when a client asks for philanthropic advice , they ’ re primarily interested in tax savings . But what really interests your clients about philanthropy — and what they want from you — may have nothing to do with money . That means you should keep an open mind . Rather than start with the tax details , start with probing questions that uncover your clients ’ most important and personal charitable objectives . For example , first ask them about their current giving to get a baseline on where they are focused and what their charitable budget is . Their answers will likely shed light on their passions , interests and frustrations , and show where creative philanthropy can help . By opening up this type of dialogue , you start a more fruitful discussion that can encompass , but not be limited to , any tax advantages that would be realized with the giving plan .
Rather than start with the tax details , start with probing questions that uncover your clients ’ most important and personal charitable objectives .
Waiting For The Giving Season
If you ’ re only discussing philanthropy during the last few months of the calendar year , you may be missing an opportunity to provide more value to your clients . Yes , giving typically peaks during the year ’ s end , but starting the conversation earlier gives clients more time to plan . Discussing charitable giving early and often can help improve your overall relationship with your clients as the frequency of your interactions accelerates and the range of subjects you cover becomes more diverse . The outcomes for nonprofit organizations may improve , too . Philanthropists usually have an idea of where they would like to deploy their dollars for the year , but when crises occur ( such as earthquakes in Turkey and Syria , storms like Hurricane Ian and conflicts like those between Russia and Ukraine ), your clients may want to pivot quickly to support those needing immediate assistance . It can be challenging to provide crucial ongoing support beyond the immediate aftermath of a sudden event . But with advanced planning and regular conversations , you can help clients strategically reserve and allocate dollars to respond more effectively .
Overlooking The Value Of Specialist Experts
When clients have complex needs , or when their philanthropy requires a sub-