As a trusted professional advisor, you play an essential role in helping your clients achieve their charitable goals. Research shows that your clients are probably waiting for you to initiate the conversation.

Research also indicates that consumer knowledge about charitable giving is on the rise. Your clients may have some general ideas about philanthropy, but they expect their advisors to help them create innovative, comprehensive financial plans that meet their goals to minimize taxes, transfer wealth, leave legacies and reflect their values.

You are in a position to help your clients realize their goals just by listening for giving opportunities, explaining options and suggesting solutions. The best opportunities to help clients maximize the benefits of charitable giving often occur when they are considering options and making decisions related to:

  • Estate planning
  • Writing or revising a will
  • Selling a business
  • Selling real estate
  • Planning for retirement
  • Receiving a financial windfall, such as an inheritance, commission or bonus
  • Evaluating private vs. community foundation structures

Every situation and client is unique, so there is no “right” way to raise the issue. The best way to approach the topic is to incorporate some straight-forward questions into your conversations with clients:

  • Have you thought of what kind of personal legacy you would like to leave?
  • What principles have guided the way you live your life? Raised your family? Run your business (or operated in your profession)? Participated in the community?
  • Do you currently volunteer or support any charitable organizations, such as a place of worship, alma mater or local nonprofit?
  • Are you interested in supporting these organizations or causes now and after your death?

If you are not comfortable raising these questions, call us. We can help you devise a strategy or join you for a client meeting. Contact Beth Boney Jenkins, Vice President of Development, at 919-256-6932 or email

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