Whether you have been talking to your Professional Advisor (PA) about charitable gifts for years or you just recently began considering your relationship to philanthropy, it is always a good time to have a conversation with your PA about giving. Here are some tips to help you talk to your PA about philanthropy that fits you.

Be Proactive
Many people may be interested in charitable giving, but don't always initiate the conversation with their PA.

"We often don’t see clients until tax planning season begins in November and December," says Teresa Nelson, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at Siegfried, Crandall, PC. "If you’re making a major gift, be sure get a PA involved in the process early."

"You should always be calling and always be proactive, but normally it's better to start having the conversation at the beginning of one year so you have the rest of the year to plan," says Erin Gallagher, managing partner at Seber Tans, PLC.

Teresa Nelson (L), Erin Gallagher (R)

Use A Team Approach
When it comes to complex gifts, Nelson encourages clients to use a team approach to achieve their philanthropic goals. Larger gifts, such as gifts of property or charitable trusts, may require more collaboration.

"This may require a meeting with your CPA, financial planner and perhaps an attorney to develop documents," she says.

Share Your Ideas

Come with an idea and your advisor can provide guidance about where to look.

"It's easier when I can see how much a client has given historically," Gallagher says. "However, if you haven't made charitable gifts in the past, don't hesitate to communicate your interest. From there, your advisor can walk you through your options."

One way Nelson gets to the heart of client’s goal is by asking: "What problem would you want to address if money were no object?" This question reveals where clients are truly interested in directing their resources.

Make Philanthropy a Family Affair
It is also helpful for your PA to know if other members of your family are interested in giving. Nelson also suggests families get kids involved in philanthropy early. Getting children involved is a great way to have refresher conversation with your PA about charitable giving and bring the family together.

"Teaching kids about giving builds empathy and stronger family connections," Nelson observes.

Looking for ways to give to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation? Visit kalfound.org/HowtoGive or contact a Donor Relations Officer at 269.381.4416.

This article was featured in the latest issue of our UPDATE newsletter. Click here to read the full issue as a digital magazine.