Involving Advisors in Philanthropic Planning: Recommendations from Research
Date Published: January 1, 2005
Publisher: Journal of Gift Planning
Author: Johnson, Stephen
Why, when and how legal and financial advisors counsel their clients around their charitable giving options is a “good news-bad new s” story. And it is one with important implications for the donor, for the gift planner, for charitable organizations and for society.
The good news is that after 10 years of study and research, there is convincing evidence that effective advisors know the importance of supporting their clients’ charitable giving and have the skills and resources to do so. The best of such advisors actively encourage such planning and giving, helping clients achieve goals that include both tax planning and important personal and family objectives. They recognize clearly the benefits of working collaboratively with the gift planning officer—benefits for client and advisor alike.
The bad news is that too few professional advisors meet this practice standard. All too few fully appreciate the “triple win” inherent in fully supporting their clients’ philanthropic potential—the benefit to their clients, to their own practice and to the “third sector” and the society it serves.
It is decidedly not this article’s purpose to point the finger at professional advisors for any lack of volition or skill in this arena. Relatively few advisors are entirely clear about what is possible in the way of “holistic charitable planning,” and even fewer have been exposed to learning or training opportunities in this realm, even in the very best professional schools.
Rather, the objective here is to paint a factual picture of where the professional advisor’s practice appears to be deficient, how it can be improved and some of the benefits that will inure to clients, advisors and America’s nonprofit institutions if this canvas can be substantially altered for the better in the decades ahead.