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. And many professional advisors find that assisting clients in this area is personally rewarding as well, because they struggle with the same issues.
  • More advisors than ever are including charitable giving in the planning process. That’s good news because recent studies by the Philanthropic Initiative of Boston have shown that clients want help with their philanthropy.

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 specialties like accounting or law. And high-quality charitable planning can meet multiple goals, and result in a larger benefit to family members.