Mike McGlothlin CFP®, CHFC®, CLU®, LUTCF®, NSSA®
We all have causes we’re passionate about. From church groups to local community arts programs, to research for the cure of a disease that has affected a loved one, and all kinds of things in between. The choice of which charity to align with is personal. It comes from the heart.
Personally, I’m passionate about basketball. I was a student manager for our boys’ basketball team during both high school and college. I was fortunate to work with one of my heroes, Bobby Knight, at Indiana University and was proud to be part of the team that won the national championship my senior year. Because I love basketball and am at a place where I can help my community, the proceeds from my most recent book, Free Throws for Financial Professionals (featuring 10 principles I learned from Bobby) go to help students at my high school. Each year, one student manager is awarded a partial scholarship to help cover tuition and books. It’s something that I care deeply about, and something I am proud to support.
Find out which causes are near and dear to your clients. It will help create deeper relationships with your target clients. And the time might come when you’re asked to donate to their favorite cause. Before that happens, it’s wise to have a process in place to handle those requests.
Creating a process requires just a few simple steps.
- Define your charities. I’ve found that it’s essential to determine the types of charities that matter. Generally, you can determine two or three categories of charities that you care about. For example, you could have children’s needs as one cause. A heart association might be another. Or maybe you’re interested specifically in helping your community. Take a minute to think about what causes you want to dedicate your time and money to.
- Only donate to charities that fit and matter to you. Of course, you never want to risk alienating a potential client. But it’s just not possible to say yes to everyone who asks for a donation. When a client or vendor asks you to donate to a charity, let them know what types of causes you are currently supporting. If their charity doesn’t fit one of your categories, politely decline. Instead, talk about other ways you might be able to assist with their community.
- Before deciding, find out more. If a client supports a charity you’ve never heard of, or don’t know much about, find out more. Where does the money go? What is the charity’s mission statement? Who does it benefit? You might be surprised by what you learn.
So, when a client asks you to donate, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” It all depends on how your philanthropic tendencies line up with theirs. And, as you build your business to a High Performing Practice, you’ll be able to support more of the causes you love. Just remember to give from the heart.
Stay true to the causes you love and give accordingly.