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How to Discuss Charitable Giving With Your Clients

A sensitive subject, charitable giving is still usually a major benefit to your clients' bottom line – and heart.

An advisor with a couple.We have it easy. Nearly everyone who walks through the doors of Akron Community Foundation already has charitable giving on his or her mind.

Your clients, however, may not be considering philanthropy when they come for an appointment with their legal or financial advisor, even if it’s to their advantage. And many professionals have told us they are reluctant to raise the issue.

Seven cases when charitable giving is worth bringing up:

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. The community foundation can help your client identify his or her charitable goals and help you maximize the tax benefits of the bequest.

Year-end tax planning 
Your client just earned a large bonus or his business created extraordinary profits. He wants to share that good fortune with the community but has little time at year’s end to decide how to maximize the impact of such good fortune. You can recommend establishing a donor-advised fund at the 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. Actual grantmaking can be done at the client's convenience.

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. Closely held stock can also be used as gift property.

Retiring in comfort 
Your client finds he or she is not reaping sufficient income from the appreciated assets he or she has accumulated. The community foundation can show you how charitable gift annuities or charitable unitrusts can help your client achieve their charitable objectives while preparing well for retirement. 

Substantial IRA/401(k) assets
The community foundation 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 dilute 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 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 or lacks the time to oversee its administration. The community foundation can help you and your client consider simpler, more cost-efficient alternatives to a private foundation, such as a donor-advised fund.

Not comfortable doing the talking? Laura Fink, our director of development, would be happy to accompany you on your client meeting.