Professional advisors often ask us for our advice on how to begin a discussion about charitable planning with their clients. We suggest asking every client the following three threshold questions:
Are there charitable organizations that you support on an annual basis?
Would you like to include any of these organizations in your financial or estate plan?
If there were a way to shift dollars from taxes to charity, would you be interested in exploring the options?
If the answer to any of the three question is “yes,” then you have opened to door to a deeper conversation. Some follow-up questions to consider are:
- What are the issues, causes and charities that you feel passionate about? Why?
- How would you prioritize them? Why?
- Which of your past charitable gifts have given you the most satisfaction? The least? Why?
- Given your other commitments, how much time do you have to devote to charity?
- What level of recognition and visibility interests you?
- To what extent would you like to get your family involved in your giving?
- How much wealth do you want to leave to your children and grandchildren? If there is excess, would you consider designating it for charity?
- Would you prefer to give during your life or after your death?
- What values would you like to pass on to your descendants?
- Do you think a family foundation (donor-advised fund, private foundation, supporting organization) could help perpetuate those values?
- How would you like to be remembered after you are gone?
- Would you like to leave a charitable legacy to perpetuate those memories?
A conversation around these issues can lead to deeper, more meaningful planning and a stronger client relationship. At The Community Foundation, we offer a host of resources for professional advisors to help them deepen and expand their client relationships through philanthropy. Check out our Resources Library for resources and educational opportunities for advisors.