How to talk with your clients about charitable giving (and yes, their values)

When you start asking your clients about their passions and how they might want to advance them through philanthropy, you deepen your relationship with them for the long-term. That’s good for your business, and for your clients.

Why ask about philanthropy?

The short answer is because your clients would like you to! A recent study by the Charities Aid Foundation found that two-thirds of the UK’s wealthy believe professional advisers could and should provide more advice relating to philanthropy. What’s more, two-fifths of wealthy people in the UK are already taking philanthropy advice. So, if your services don’t include the advice of a philanthropic adviser, clients may well start looking for someone who does.

[Infographic] Where do people give

Starting the conversation

Talking with someone about their values doesn’t have to be a serious, awkward conversation. It can be quite interesting and is an important opportunity to learn more about your clients and invite further, more meaningful interactions going forward.

You might start by saying:

I’m pleased with what we’ve accomplished together in preparing you for retirement. We’ve met your financial objectives and I hope you feel secure about your financial plan. Now is when we like to talk a bit about your personal values and aspirations. If you’re passionate about particular social or environmental causes, my team can help you address those values through a charitable giving plan. Is this something you’d be interested in talking more about?

Even if your clients haven’t given the topic much thought, you’re at least opening the door to further discussion. Show them that you’re there to listen and provide them with advice and resources when they’re ready.

Timing it right

Choosing the right moment to introduce the topic of charitable giving can make the conversation flow easily from topics you’re more accustomed to discussing. Fortunately, there are a number of situations that could naturally spark a conversation about giving:

  • A liquidity event, such as the sale of a business or an inheritance
  • Whilst drafting or revisiting a will
  • A life event, such as retirement, marriage or the birth of children or grandchildren
  • During an annual client meeting


Following up

Now that you’ve raised the topic of charitable giving with your clients, it’s up to you to follow up. While philanthropy is hugely important to a lot of people in principle, it can easily fall to the bottom of a busy person’s to-do list. If they’ve expressed genuine interest in developing a charitable giving strategy, your clients will expect you to follow up with resources and next steps.

Here’s when you can bring in a philanthropic adviser like Thoughtful Philanthropy. We can arrange an introductory phone call with your client or even just send a questionnaire to start them on the path of identifying their charitable interests.

You’ve worked hard to build a relationship with your clients, who know and trust your professional experience. But you can’t be an expert in everything. Increasingly, middle-and-higher income people in the UK are looking for professional advice on using their wealth to support their values—from environmental protection to education. By incorporating conversations and expertise on charitable giving into your service package, you better serve the whole person. This increases the chances those clients will stick with you—and recommend you—in the long term.

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