Having the philanthropic conversation

There are key trigger events where a professional advisor can see an opportunity for a conversation on philanthropy.

Look out for a real interest in a cause or signs in your discussions on:

  • Retirement
  • Estate planning
  • Selling a business
  • Sale of appreciated/specific assets
  • Year-end tax planning
  • Inheritance
  • Major life event
  • Good fortune

The difference between philanthropy and charity

Meeting the immediate needs of our fellow humans is essential and necessary in the world today. However, enabling your clients  to make strategic philanthropic  giving choices will give them the satisfaction of knowing their generosity will have a much more meaningful impact for years to come.

“Charity in its basic form is giving a person a fish, whereas philanthropy is teaching the person how to fish”.


Starting the Giving Conversation

One approach that works well is to encourage your clients to consider what they wish to do with their accumulated wealth or change in personal circumstance which may have been triggered by a key financial event (as outlined). Essentially they have three choices:

  • they can spend it themselves
  • they can leave it to beneficiaries as a gift in their Will (family, or close friends if there is no family)
  • and/or they can leave it to charity or a cause that they care about

If they are open to considering leaving a gift to a charity or cause, ask them what do they care about most?

  • What are they most passionate about?
  • Do they  volunteer their time for a cause?
  • Does their family believe in giving back?

The key is to gain a richer understanding of their values, what lights their fire, what motivates them to give. Take the time to listen to their story you might be surprised what emerges.

Did you know … recent research from the UK tells us that, if the conversation of philanthropic giving is normalised as something other people do, it is an easier conversation to have?  see details of the research in this NZ Law Society article.


How can your clients give – what are the options available?