What Advisors Need to Know About Personalized Philanthropy

How you can build better long-term relationships by fostering collaboration among estate planners, philanthropic gift officers and your client donors. This trio of Elite Advisor Report contributors explains.

By CEG’s Elite Advisor Report staff

Key Takeaways:

  • Estate planning and philanthropic giving aren’t always driven by client values.
  • Too much work in this field tends to be tool-driven, tax-driven and transactional.
  • Transactional, tax-driven estate planning can coexist with higher estate tax thresholds and growing competition.
  • The cross-disciplinary team approach to philanthropy and wealth transfer can be more effective than the sole-advisor approach.

Research shows that the vast majority of advisors underestimate their clients’ charitable intentions. Or sometimes fee-only advisors worry that transferring funds to charitable causes will diminish their assets under management. Either way, not understanding your clients’ charitable intentions is a lost opportunity and potentially a lost client.

When properly planned, philanthropy is about more than just tools and techniques. It’s about tax savings and financial benefits to the donor and family. Effective legacy planning also achieves measurable positive impact on the community, via specific programs at specific nonprofits in line with client intentions.

The client’s trusted advisor, working across a team of specialists, can fuse his or her respective skills and drill into a new, client-oriented, socially impactful legacy planning process. In the discovery/agreement phase, the trusted advisor will elicit client goals, dreams and aspirations. Then with the team, the advisor will construct a multidimensional plan to deliver the hard and soft benefits that your clients want for themselves, their family and society, today and upon their death.

On Thursday, March 19, Elite Advisor Report contributors Tim Belber, Phil Cubeta and Steven Meyers will draw from their expertise in law, academics, financial planning and gift giving to explain the new model for cross-discipline philanthropy.

At a highly anticipated breakout session at the Purposeful Planning Institute 2015 Fusion Collaboration Conference in Orlando, the trio will use examples and experiences to explore how this can be brought to life for your client families, what it can mean for your own practice and the impact it will have on communities.

Surveys spanning the past 10 years have revealed a large disconnect between donors, advisors and gift officers. There is a way to help families create a more meaningful and impactful philanthropic experience. It requires “out of the box” thinking, a willingness to embrace new strategies and a collaborative discussion among family members, advisors and philanthropic officers. Cubeta, Belber and Meyers will pave the way for advisors who want to cement client relationships for current and future generations.

Again, the presentation is called Personalized Philanthropy: A Collaboration between the Family Advisors, the Philanthropic Gift Officer and the Donor. Hope to see you in Orlando.

About the presenters

Philip B. Cubeta, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CAP, is the Sallie B. and William B. Wallace Chair in Philanthropy at the American College of Financial Services. In that role, he develops curricula for the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation. Prior to joining the American College, Phil was chief of staff for The Nautilus Group, a service of New York Life, located in Dallas, Texas, providing estate, business and philanthropic strategies to affluent clients through 200 of the company’s top agents. Phil’s essays on philanthropy have appeared in Tracy Gary’s Inspired Legacies (Wiley and Sons: 2008); H. Peter Karoff, The World We Want (Altimira Press: 2007); Amy Kass, Doing Well Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists (Indiana University Press: 2008), and in Nonprofit Quarterly, Summer 2013.

Tim Belber, JD AEP, founder and principal of The Alchemia Group in Denver, focuses his practice on helping self-made families align the power of their financial assets with their long-term goals for flourishing as individuals and families across generations. Tim has degrees from the Wharton School and Seton Hall University School of Law and is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®). His most recent piece for Elite Advisor Report was Why Philanthropy Should Matter to Advisors.

About the Author

Steven L. Meyers, Ph.D. is vice president of the Center for Personalized Philanthropy at the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science. Steve is a primary developer of personalized philanthropy, based on his mantra of “the right gift, for the right purpose, for the right donor.” Steve’s innovative donor-focused gift designs, especially a series of arrangements he calls “killer apps,” combine the full spectrum of current and future gifts so that donors can create a lasting legacy where impact and recognition are able to start up right away.

His most recent piece for Elite Advisor Report was The Cross Fertilization of Finance and Philanthropy