The Informed Philanthropic Advisor: Three Important Signs Your Client Needs Your Help
You’re the skilled specialist when it comes to crafting financial plans for your clients—but between the multifaceted tax stipulations, difficult discussions, intricate planning techniques, and the wealth of possible endeavours, philanthropic planning is anything but simple, even for the most seasoned professional advisors.
If you had the important discussions, what’s next to becoming a subject matter expert on all things philanthropy? As we’ve explored in the previous edition of The Informed Philanthropic Advisor, if you’re not having meaningful, informed conversations around philanthropy with your clients, the research says you might risk losing them. But after you’ve bitten the bullet and planned the discussion, or even had the discussion, what’s next?
Bloom Has You Covered
We know that the area of philanthropic advisory may be an unchartered territory for you. That’s why we are pleased to engage in the conversation with the release of a new series of guides to aid you, the professional advisor, during every step of the philanthropic process.
In this second edition of The Informed Philanthropic Advisor, we are honing in on some important signs your client may need help with philanthropic planning, and some of the most vital questions to ask them to ensure you’re creating best possible charitable plan on their behalf.
Settle in with this guide and be on your way to becoming the best possible advisor to your clients in their philanthropic journey!
Signs Your Client Needs Your Help with Their Charitable Plan
A recent study suggests that the charitable sector is leaning more heavily than ever on wealthy Canadians. Research from Canada Helps shows that approximately $4.3 billion is in serious jeopardy of exiting the charitable system over the next ten years.
A sense of urgency is emerging, and your clients are being bombarded left and right by numerous charities vying for their donations–especially in the case of affluent donors where the potential amount of gifted dollars is substantial. With so many options and a plethora of donation dollars at stake, it’s common for the process to feel overwhelming for your client.
Here are some of the signs to watch out for when determining if your client is in need of your philanthropic planning services.
- Scattered, Unplanned Donations
While there is no right or wrong way to give to charity, if your client is engaging in philanthropic work and donations with no identifiable or premeditated pattern, it might be a sign that they could benefit from your guidance and planning.
This won’t look the same for everyone, but perhaps your client is donating to various organizations throughout the year, at various times, with varying amounts. This may be an indication that your client is simply donating in reaction to requests, as opposed to prudently pondering their values and passions, and giving in response to those facets.
If this is a behaviour you’re seeing in your client, Joanna Bacchus, Toronto-based Strategic Growth Partner and Charitable Advisor, has some advice.
“If you’re noticing that your client is donating sporadically to many charities with no real plan in place, as their professional advisor, it’s important to step in and ask them to reflect on their true passions. Would they obtain a greater sense of fulfillment by honing in on one to three causes that they feel highly connected to?
Zeroing in on that can lead to more meaningful philanthropic experiences and donations. Not only can they gain more satisfaction from taking a concentrated approach, but having a giving plan in place provides more organization around their finances and estate.”
- Expressing Frustration Around Giving
If your client is showing signs that the philanthropic experience is causing them frustration or dissatisfaction, it’s probable that they could use your expertise to guide them through the process and alleviate those negative feelings.
Not only should this process be fulfilling, but it should be personal, so if your client is having difficulties with the charitable process, be sure to work with your client to identify some causes and organizations they can really connect with. When the client is not connecting to the cause at hand, or if they’re probing to understand what impact they are really having on the charity, it can be unsatisfying for nearly everyone involved.
With a proper plan in place, countless donors will find giving to be highly fulfilling—whether the amount donated is large or small, whether the donor is 20 or 70 years old, and whether the commodity donated is time or money.
- Approaching Retirement with a Large Income
Perhaps you’re advising a client who has not yet dipped his or her toes in the philanthropic space. Whether they’ve simply not had an interest previously, or whether they’ve just come into affluence (maybe they’ve recently received a sizeable inheritance, or their income increased significantly), everyone needs to start somewhere!
With your expert assistance, they can be well on their way to maximizing their wealth. Not only that, but they’ll be able to derive value from making an impact in their community, too.
It’s no surprise that charitable giving can have a significantly positive impact on wealthy individuals from a tax perspective as well (making sizeable donations to a philanthropic vehicle will permit them to receive a greater tax benefit now versus in the future when their income will be less).
If your client has not yet capitalized on the taxable benefits of charitable work, but is approaching retirement with a sizeable income, it’s indisputably important to step in and carefully explain the advantages.
Identifying Client Passions: Three Meaningful Questions for Your Client to Ponder
Oftentimes, recognizing our true motivations and values is more difficult than we might have initially expected. Here are three meaningful questions to ask your clients to help them uncover their passions—narrowing the search for organizations and causes to give to that will provide them with the most rewarding experience possible.
- Where Do You Find the Most Joy in Your Life?
While it may sound like a simple question, posing this inquiry can empower your client to reflect on some of the most important facets in their life, which can then allow them to clarify for themselves how they want their donation dollars allocated. Once they identify their greatest sources of joy, the answer to the main question we’re trying to get at becomes clear.
Perhaps one of their greatest passions in life is spending time with their children or pets. Once they respond to this inquiry, try connecting their answer to a cause that’s pertinent. For example, maybe this client would derive satisfaction from donating to a charity that reunifies and advocates for families who are separated, or perhaps they would attain peace of mind knowing they can help make a difference in the lives of stray animals.
Once you can identify their greatest sources of joy, it becomes easier to connect your client to an organization in line with their values.
- Which Experiences have Personally Moved You the Most—Either Positively or Negatively?
Whether your client is a seasoned philanthropy veteran, or new to the charitable community, don’t be afraid to pose this question—the experience recalled does not have to relate to charity or volunteer work.
Whether it be through engaging in philanthropy, or just through living life, many of us have experienced situations that have moved us in one way or another—for better or for worse. Perhaps your client witnessed something significant that has stuck with them, such as a protest or significant human suffering. Asking this question may help your client uncover something deeply meaningful that they did not consciously realize was weighing on them.
- Can You Think of a Time When You Experienced the Most Joy From Giving—Whether the Gift Was Large or Small?
It can be challenging for clients to relay their deepest passions when put on the spot. Sometimes, phrasing the question somewhat indirectly can get the wheels turning more effectively.
With so many people caught up in their own lives and problems, by asking your client to step outside of an egocentric frame of mind to recount a time when they were totally enamoured with an experience of giving, you can help them in sparking an idea when it comes to uncovering their passion. Be sure to stress that it that it doesn’t need to be overly extravagant—it could be a small act of kindness like helping an elderly neighbour.
Maybe it was when they volunteered to coach their child’s soccer team, or perhaps it was reading to their children’s class. You’ll find that their answers will often give you something to work with—even just chipping away at a meaningful experience can point you in the right direction when it comes to recommending a cause or charity that would provide a rewarding experience for your client. In the case of this example, perhaps aiding a non-profit promoting childhood literacy would be a good fit for the client, or maybe it’s a charity focused on ensuring underprivileged kids can engage in sports.
How Bloom Can Help in the Giving Journey
If you’re seeking further advice, look no further than Bloom Investment Counsel, Inc.! We are pleased to work with our clients’ advisors and assist clients to ensure that they have sufficient cash flow from their investments to use for their charitable endeavors.
Building Wealth and Cash Flow
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Bloom is delighted to work directly with our clients’ attorneys and advisors, including single-family office and multi-family office clients, providing custom, personalized solutions to help each client reach their unique diversification goals in a manner that best suits them. Continue making an impact in your community, and leave the legwork to us!
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This content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax, legal or accounting advice nor does it constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities referred to. Individual circumstances and current events are critical to sound investment planning; anyone wishing to act on this content should consult with his or her financial partner or advisor.