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It's a delicate dilemma.

Estate planners, financial planners, and other professional advisors are often faced with a delicate dilemma: You want to discuss the many benefits of charitable giving with your clients, but you want to avoid recommending specific charitable causes or organizations.

Fortunately, there's a simple solution.

Now, you can feel comfortable asking if your client has any charitable goals without recommending any one charity. The Community Foundation of North Florida facilitates charitable gifts to all nonprofit organizations. The Foundation is a single, trusted vehicle your clients can use to support all of the charities they care about most, while gaining maximum tax benefit under state and federal law. We offer a variety of giving options,including the ability to set up a charitable fund in your client's name. It's just one way we can help you help your clients achieve their charitable goals.

Why Talk About Philanthropy with Your Clients.

Many of your clients may not raise the topic of charitable planning with you. That may not be due to a lack of interest but rather due to an existing misconception that charitable planning is reserved for philanthropists with names like Rockefeller and Gates. Educating your clients about charitable giving options adds value to the services you provide your clients. It's good for your clients, it's good for society, it's good for business, and it's good for you. It's a way for you to give back. And, it's easy to do.

How to Talk About Philanthropy with Your Clients.

You see the opportunity and recognize the circumstances that may trigger planning opportunities, but how do you, as the advisor, ask the question that opens the door for a meaningful discussion with your client? Most clients don't know what they can accomplish through the estate planning process. To help clients explore the options, you should ask them to express their thinking about their values and aspirations. Discussing philanthropy with your clients can be done in a way that respects their privacy, values and autonomy.

Here are some conversation starters:

  • "I know you are very supportive of [organization or program, e.g., the local soup kitchen, your church, your alma mater]… would you like to continue your support through your estate plan?"
  • "Are you making charitable gifts now that you would like to continue after your death?"
  • "Have you considered what would happen to your assets if your spouse or children do not survive you? Would you like any of your assets passed on to a charity, rather than to a distant relative?"