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Why You Should Assist Clients (and Their Children) With Charitable Giving

One of the best things parents can impart to their children is a sense of altruism. Recognizing opportunities to help others and using resources wisely to free up funds for charity leads to stronger character.

Studies have shown that affluent households do worry about spoiling their children—you’ve probably heard some of these concerns among your own clients. They worry about children who may not have a strong work ethic, or who engage conspicuous spending, or have a sense of entitlement. Assisting clients in their philanthropic interests can have many beneficial effects for your clients:

– Developing a family’s sense of shared values
– Creating more positive, healthy relationships with money
– Instilling a sense of purpose surrounding money
– Seeing money as a product of hard work and passion—used for productive purposes
– Cultivating an attitude of gratitude
– Encouraging financial responsibility

Charitable giving can have many benefits for your practice, as well. Becoming an expert in planned giving helps you in these areas:

Client service. You become more valuable to your clients when you can assist them in their personal commitments to charities and other causes. Many of your high net worth clients give generously to churches and non-profits. They may be unaware, however, of the most tax-advantaged strategies for their gifts. You can help them better leverage their gifts through planned bequests, cash gifts, and matching gift opportunities. You can be in a prime position to help them realize their legacy goals.

Networking. As you become known as an expert in planned giving, you will be able to give talks to community organizations, and become a resource for non-profit boards. Churches, universities, hospitals, and other organizations will seek you out to build their planned giving programs more effectively. Many churches, pastors and non-profit leaders simply don’t have a comfort level in discussing financial matters. This will present you with opportunities to network and socialize with potential high net worth clients and families.

Community service. By becoming well-known in the non-profit community, and providing education, you will gain increasing opportunities to serve, and give back to good causes. This can help inspire your team, and make your work more personally fulfilling.

Non-profit institutions often need help recognizing wealth holders who are advocates for the charity. Many advocates do not announce their intentions to bequeath assets in advance. It is beneficial for institutions to know, in advance, who is planning to leave a financial legacy. Institutions also must demonstrate superior stewardship of donated assets. Financial advisors can assist institutions in both areas.

Pursuing a designation

The Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) is one option for immersing yourself in the tax details and interpersonal dynamics of giving. The CAP designation helps advisors better understand planned giving opportunities, and how planned giving can enhance the financial planning process.

It requires three graduate-level courses: Planning for Impact in the Context of Family Wealth; Charitable Strategies; and Gift Planning in a Nonprofit Context.

Two of the CAP courses count toward the Master of Science in Financial Services degree, and also count toward CE credit.

The American College website describes the following objectives:

• Position you as a confidante to clients and donors as they plan for a better life in a better world.
• Integrate gift planning with estate planning, business succession planning, and investment advisory services.
• Integrate gift planning with a nonprofit’s major gift and planned gift programs.
• Emerge in your community as a leader whose legacy — via clients and donors — will live for generations

Another option is the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy. Founded in Chicago in 2006, it is a community of likeminded advisors committed to philanthropic planning. The IAAP hosts webinars, conferences, and encourages interaction among members. It also sponsors CAP symposia and scholarships.

Bottom line: Charitable giving is good for your business and your clients. You can help clients experience the joy of giving to their favorite institutions and causes—and teaching their children positive values. And, you can become an expert resource in your community.

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