At this reflective time of year, I remind myself that while gratitude is important, it’s in the giving (of our time, talent and treasure) that we best demonstrate our true thankfulness. The poignant and moving words of JFK always come to mind: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Unfortunately, thoughts on giving thanks tend to all-too-quickly turn to thoughts on giving gifts, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday following quickly on the heels of Thanksgiving. Perhaps this year, however, instead of shifting our focus to those two celebrations of consumerism, we can turn our attention instead to December 3rd – the eighth annual “Giving Tuesday.”
Created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good, it has grown into a global generosity movement that inspires millions of people each year to donate, to volunteer and to collaborate in an effort to enhance their communities and better the lives of those in need. The real joy in philanthropy comes from rolling up your sleeves and engaging on a personal level, rather than simply writing the check. Take time to think about which causes matter most to you. Decide how much time you can commit, and identify any talents you possess that might especially benefit the organization.
And most importantly, be certain to discuss with your clients, their philanthropic and giving goals. Not only will it be in their financial interest to engage in charitable giving, it most certainly will deepen your personal relationships with them – creating connections that endure through market cycles and even across generations.
Engaging in philanthropic conversations
Many advisors have incorporated charitable giving discussions with clients into their broader financial planning process. There’s perhaps no better time of year to re-engage them in that dialogue. There is a tremendous leadership role we are called to as humans – to help one another in need. Assisting your clients (and the heirs of their wealth) in becoming clearer about the impact they hope to have, the problems they wish to solve, along with the potential financial advantages that may come by doing so, are significant and meaningful actions.
Whether it’s establishing a charitable foundation, inviting a client’s future beneficiaries to sit down and discuss what issues matter most, or simply educating them about what others are doing, you have a unique opportunity to provide a lasting impact for generations to come. That is part of the nobility of our great profession. Give Thanks! On Tuesday and each day for all the years ahead! Happy. Thanks. Giving.
Coaching Questions from this article:
- Take a few minutes to reflect on the things you are most grateful for. What actions could you take to better demonstrate that appreciation?
- What are your philanthropic interests and passions, and how might you be able to “plug in” to one or more organizations that reflect those interests?
- How do you currently broach the topic of philanthropy with clients? What might you do differently to better engage them in charitable conversations?