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Philanthropy’s Cutting Edge
Source: Research Magazine  ·  September 2011  ·  Excerpt

Helping clients develop their philanthropic impulse should be a slam dunk — but often it’s not. Why? For starters, experts say, many advisors are reluctant to ask clients to bare their feelings about causes they care about. They’re also unschooled in anything beyond textbook philanthropy. And that’s too bad.

As Dave Ness, chief trust officer of Raymond James Trust, notes: “When I talk to a lot of financial advisors, they’re not completely comfortable with the subject. Some think it’s none of their business. There’s also this perception that beyond writing a check, it’s really hard: ‘If I don’t know what the right answers are, I’m not going there.’ But the fact is, there are an awful lot of things you can do with people. Clients aren’t necessarily looking for advice from advisors as to who to give to, but answers as to how.”

It helps, too, when the advisor is philanthropically inclined.

“I really think that to talk philanthropy you have to be philanthropic. This isn’t a product, this is a personal part of your soul. It’s part of who you are, it’s part of what you do,” adds Ness. “I’ve seen plenty of advisors who could sell ice cubes to Inuits who couldn’t sell a charitable remainder trust to Andrew Carnegie because they were trying to sell the tax benefits or the income — not the gift.”

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Our take
As this article indicates, charitable giving is a deeply personal matter for many people. As such, there's never a one-size-fits-all approach that can be taken when determining the best options and methods for an individual donor to make a difference. Moreover, selling the features and benefits of a certain type of gift simply may not resonate with many donors: they want to know how to help a vision in their mind become a reality.

Contact us now for help answering these and other questions:

  • What are the best ways for my organization to reach out to donors and clients using a more personal, needs-based approach?
  • How can my organization stay current on the types of giving methods available and their suitability for individual donors?


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