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Talking With Your Clients About Philanthropy

Questions to ask during your next advisory meeting

Giving isn’t an exact science, but results from the U.S. Trust Survey show patterns that can help you navigate important giving topics with your clients.

Over the years, the  U.S. Trust Survey has served as an authoritative source of information on wealthy Americans’ philanthropic attitudes and practices.

The survey found that, “fewer than half [of respondents] are having robust conversations that align their wealth with important goals and values.”

While respondents do report discussing tax planning, investments, and estate planning, according to the survey, “high-net-worth clients want to discuss … not just estate planning but also the implications of different trust options, strategic philanthropy and preparing the next generation to be responsible stewards of family wealth.”

“High-net-worth clients want to discuss…not just estate planning but also the implications of different trust options, strategic philanthropy and preparing the next generation to be responsible stewards of family wealth.”

This finding suggests that as a wealth manager, you have opportunities to have conversations that satisfy the more nuanced and broader needs of your clients’ philanthropic goals. In fact, one in four donors (26 percent) say their investment decisions align with their personal values due to conversations with their advisor or wealth manager.

To ensure your clients are aware of their philanthropic options, here are some questions that you may want to ask your client next time you meet.
  1. Are you giving to any charities now? Which ones?
  2. How do you decide which organizations to support? Do you typically support the same organizations every year?
  3. How do you make your charitable donations? When do you typically make them?
  4. Do you have any charitable vehicles already in place? If yes, what are they? Do you have any issues with charitable vehicles you have? Would you like to make any changes?
  5. Is a charitable legacy important to you? What would you like your charitable legacy to be?

Assisting Clients with Philanthropic Options and Complex Assets

Listen to gift planner Luther Ranheim talk about his role in assisting professional advisors in educating their clients about making an impact in the community through complex assets.

If you or your clients have questions, or are interested in finding out more about philanthropy at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, please contact one of our gift planners, call 651.224.5463 or email We're happy to explore charitable options for your clients with you.

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