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How to Discuss Charitable Giving with Your Clients

For most of your clients, philanthropy is an important part of their lives—they may give to their alma mater, faith community and to local, national and even international charities. Many may also value volunteering in our community in hands-on roles or as board members.

But when they meet with you, they are primarily focused on gaining your expertise to protect and extend their assets and you are focused on providing that. What if you could help your clients set philanthropic goals while still protecting their assets?

How do you invite a conversation about their philanthropic dreams with your clients? Here are seven scenarios when charitable giving can play a key role:

Leaving a Legacy

You are aware of significant tax advantages your client can achieve by including a charitable provision in his or her estate plan. Your client’s bequest can create a fund that will contribute forever to causes that are important to them while generating significant estate tax savings. The Austin Community Foundation can help your clients identify their charitable goals now and help you maximize the tax benefits of the bequest.

Year-end tax planning

Your client just had a liquidity event or earned a large bonus. He or she wants to give back to the community but doesn’t have time at year’s end to decide how to maximize their giving impact. You can recommend establishing a donor-advised fund at the Austin Community Foundation, which would allow your client to realize an immediate tax deduction and have the opportunity to seek advice regarding the most effective use of his charitable assets. The client can begin making grants whenever he or she is ready.

Gifts of highly appreciated stock

Your client has highly appreciated stock and is willing to consider a charitable gift. He or she may realize a tax deduction for the full market value, while avoiding the capital gains tax that would otherwise arise from the sale of the stock. The Foundation also accepts gifts of closely held stock.

Retiring in comfort

Your client finds he or she does not have sufficient income from the assets he or she has accumulated. The Austin Community Foundation can show you how a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust can help your client achieve their charitable objectives while meeting income goals. The charitable portion of their gift can be directed to the client’s favorite charity.

Substantial IRA/401(k) assets

We can help you and your client evaluate the most beneficial asset distribution to minimize taxes, thereby giving more to his or her heirs and still achieving significant charitable objectives. For example, it is usually more tax advantageous for a donor to give retirement assets to charity and other assets to their heirs. Income tax and possibly estate taxes often diminish the value of an IRA or other retirement assets left to an heir.

Sale of a business

Your client owns highly appreciated stock in a company that is about to be acquired. The Austin Community Foundation can work with you to suggest several ways to structure a charitable gift (including the use of planned giving techniques) to help your client reduce capital gains tax and maximize the impact to his or her favorite charitable causes.

Private foundation alternatives

Your client either doesn't have the substantial resources needed to start a private foundation ($10,000,000 is recommended) or lacks the time to oversee its administration. The Austin Community Foundation can help you and your client consider simpler, more cost-efficient alternatives to a private foundation. 

“My clients write checks to their churches, schools and the shelter where they get their pets. When I ask if they want to make provisions for the charities they support in their estate planning, they usually say ‘yes.’ They want their plans to reflect their values and lifetime giving. The Foundation can be very helpful in carrying out clients’ wishes.”

Steve Saunders
Estate Attorney - Saunders, Norval, Pargaman & Atkins

Related Resources

Learn about our investment strategies

Investing the charitable dollars you have entrusted with us is an important part of our work. Review recent investment statements, our audit and financial documents.

Plan now, give later

Whetheyou would like to put your donation to work today or provide charitable benefits to our community after your lifetime, we can help you find the right charitable plan for you and your family.