5 Questions to Make the Most of Year-End Giving Conversations with Clients - Vario Philanthropy
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Client Conversation

5 Questions to Make the Most of Year-End Giving Conversations with Clients

Did you know that nearly one-third of charitable giving takes place in the month of December? And some estimates say 10% comes through in the last 48 hours of the year? Charities know this and mailboxes are full of year-end requests for support.

Your clients are thinking about charitable giving now more than ever, with a broad range of emotions – guilt, joy, frustration, hope, annoyance, vision, obligation, inspiration, passion, etc. They’re also thinking about family, legacy, and the “true wealth” they want to pass on to future generations. With a little proactivity, you have a powerful opportunity to deepen relationships with your clients, connect with the next gen, and help them unlock greater joy and impact in this part of their life and money conversation.

You have probably already received calls from some of your clients. Maybe it’s frantic or “out of duty.” Advisors often tell us they feel equipped to help clients answer the “how much” or “what giving vehicle” question, but how do you respond about where to give? How do you help them be confident that their giving is making a difference or effectively engaging their kids or grandkids?

Now, or in January after the “post-giving hustle” when clients are vowing to do it better next year, here are 5 questions you can ask to help your clients give with greater confidence:

1. How much can you give?

Review what they’ve given so far this year and how much they want to give this holiday season. This is the easy part, but try going one step further. Ask:

  • Do they want to set aside some funds for their kids or grandkids to give to their favorite causes?
  • Do they want to just give cash, or gift stocks/bonds, property, or other valuable assets?
  • Do they want to give their time and volunteer during the holidays or beyond? If yes, how? How often?

Then, throw out a challenging idea. Ask, what if, like a charitable ROI, they could invest in the change that mattered to them? It’s possible – it just takes some thought and commitment. Read on.

2. What do you most profoundly care about changing?

Help your clients unpack their passions and values around giving. Great questions to ask include:

  • What breaks your heart?
  • What do you wish were different in your community/world?
  • What injustices most anger you or causes fill you with hope?
  • What opportunities or experiences have shaped you, that you’d like to make accessible to others?
  • What root causes or societal issues do you find yourself constantly wishing you could address?
  • What values and traditions do you hope to pass on to future generations?

Using those answers, encourage them to write down down 2 – 3 issues they want to impact through giving of their time, talent, and means.

Having an idea of what they most want to change can shift their giving approach to a greater degree of proactivity and help them overcome the reactive hustle. Having a more meaningful “yes” makes the “nos” more meaningful too.

3. What best aligns with your vision for change?

When the holiday appeals come in, encourage your clients to prioritize those organizations that best align with their passions, interests and desired legacy.

Next, encourage them to reflect back on the organizations they’ve been exposed to over the last year. Consider adding a few organizations to the mix who didn’t manage to send them a mailing. Ask a few people they think are “in the charitable know” to recommend some of their favorites. (Or – feel free to call us! We try to keep a pulse on some of the neatest work happening across different areas and are always happy to share ideas).

4. What do you need to know to give confidently?

Encourage them to do some research on their preferred charities. Visit the agency’s website. Look for how they define success and how how they share about the impact of their work. Listen for leadership, vision, and change (not just good ideas). If they have time, suggest they go on a site visit to learn more or call to ask what upcoming projects they’re looking to fund. Sometimes focusing giving to fewer organizations, or investing in a larger specific project can make a more tangible impact.

You can review a charity’s financial health by visiting GuideStar.org or CharityNavigator.org.

5. Where do you go from here?

Loop back with your client early next year to talk about how it went. Did they feel more focused in their giving this past holiday season? Did they experience more joy?

Or if you missed the conversation this season, explore how 2018 could be a more proactive year. What might they like to do differently this year? Do they want to do more on the issues they care about the most? Do they want to engage differently throughout the year? Do they want to explore different giving vehicles or engage their kids and grandkids? Are they interested in creating a more formal strategy that can help them direct their giving in ways that most effectively impact the issues and causes they care about?

When we give well, it changes us as it changes the causes that matter to us. By opening up these important conversations with your clients, you have an opportunity to help them experience much deeper joy, fulfillment, and another meaningful step towards legacy.