How to Begin a Client Discussion

Professional advisors often ask us for our advice on how to begin a discussion about charitable giving with their clients. We suggest asking every client the following 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 these questions is β€œyes,” then you have opened the door to a deeper conversation that can lead to more meaningful planning and a stronger client relationship.

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 do you want or expect?
  • 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?
  • How would you like to be remembered after you are gone? Would you like to leave a charitable legacy to perpetuate those memories?