Building the Right Team for Your Charitable Giving


By Michael Friedman, Senior Vice President, Philanthropic Planning and Services

Estate and financial planning professionals have the unique opportunity to not only help their clients achieve their financial, tax and estate goals, but their charitable goals as well. If you advise clients for a living, you have probably already built up a network of trusted colleagues from the legal, accounting, investment and insurance professions to assist. But who do you rely on when seeking information about charitable giving?

Raising the issue of charitable giving with clients is deeply rewarding and can strengthen the relationship between advisors and clients. Building the right team with the right resources also results in better outcomes, and lasting professional relationships among advisors enhances one’s practice, adding value for everyone involved in the process.

Research shows that clients expect more out of their advisors than just good tax and financial advice. They also want their advisors to help them with their charitable giving. And not just how to save on taxes. They look for charities that reflect their values and make a difference – charities that are well-run, efficient, and get results. They want to know what charities are involved in areas of interest to them – areas such as poverty, workforce development, education and medicine, and promotion and preservation of their religious values.

Building the right team, therefore, requires another advisor at the table – one who is knowledgeable about the tax benefits of well-crafted charitable plans and the charities that are making a difference in areas that the individual cares about.

When you work with organizations like The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, you can provide specialized expertise to enable your clients to live comfortable and rewarding lives and provide for their heirs. Having these trained charitable professionals on your team can help you crystallize your charitable plans in a variety of ways.

  • Assist in the development of a policy statement on grantmaking.
  • Help to provide annual goals and plans, and, if required, longer term strategic philanthropic plans.
  • Assist in developing mission statements, policies and grant guidelines.
  • Review and evaluate grant requests if asked.
  • Coordinate grant making with community priorities.
  • Encourage collaborative philanthropic ventures among funds and foundations.
  • Assist in identifying other sources of funding for projects of interest.
  • Facilitate site visits as appropriate.

In addition, using donor advised funds and foundations, individuals can not only make a difference with their grant making, but also embark on a process of teaching their children and grandchildren about the values that inform their giving. At The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, professionals specially trained in family and intergenerational philanthropy work together with donors and their advisors to ensure a legacy of giving for generations.

For more than 40 years, The Associated has worked with donors and their professional advisors to help devise integrated tax, financial and charitable plans that save taxes and maximize dollars for charity while protecting assets for their loved ones. But financial and tax advice is only half of the equation. Better giving is a result of careful attention to the values that we all hold dear, as well.

So, make sure that you have the right people on your planning team. And make sure you’ve considered not just a rewarding financial future for your client, but also a future that is made better by a charitable plan dedicated to honor the legacy of the one who made the plan.

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