Asking a client about philanthropy may seem daunting, but it is an important part of providing complete financial planning and professional advice to your clients. For a host of reasons, any informed advisor should be prepared to talk with clients about charity.

  • Many clients are already in the habit of supporting charity, so incorporating charity into the planning process is a natural reflection of most clients' existing habits and values.
  • For clients with substantial estates, minimizing or eliminating estate taxes is difficult to do without some charitable planning. Regardless of the status of the estate tax, charitable planning offers tax advantages in many other situations, such as the sale of highly appreciated stock, business succession planning, income tax planning, and dispositions of retirement accounts on death.
  • Philanthropy can help resolve many personal issues that are deeply important to clients. Many professional advisors find that assisting clients in this area is personally rewarding as well.

Good charitable advice strengthens the client relationship by providing better service to the client and generating greater client loyalty, and clients expect referrals to experts in charity, just as they would with other specialities like accounting or law. High-quality charitable planning can meet multiple goals, and result in a larger benefit to family members.

Here are seven questions for you to consider when incorporating charitable giving into your practice:

  1. Do I have clients who care deeply about their local community?
  2. Do they give to more than one charitable cause?
  3. Are they interested in creating a personal or family legacy?
  4. Would they like to stay personally involved in the use of their gift dollars?
  5. Do they want to receive maximum tax benefit for their charitable contributions?
  6. Are they considering the creation of a private foundation, but interested in exploring other options?
  7. Do they place a priority on sound financial management of their contributions?

Take the next step: If you answered yes to any of these questions, your clients would benefit from knowing more about the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. We'd be pleased to share information about Community Foundation services and benefits. To learn more about the Community Foundation and how we can be a resource to you and  your clients, please contact us at 231-348-5820.