Your clients will arrive in 15 minutes. You’re reviewing the file. Everything is in order. The estate planning documents are up to date, and you’re ready to share the latest investment results. You are prepared to debrief the 2021 tax season and make tax planning recommendations for the remainder of this year. You’ve used the same components from meeting to meeting, and you don’t even need to pull out the old playbook, right?

As you skim through your notes, you see the names of several nonprofit organizations your clients have supported annually for at least a decade. Aha! You have an opportunity to add even more value to your clients. Easy for a busy advisor to overlook, clients’ giving habits are an essential window into helping clients make planning decisions to facilitate their philanthropic goals. Most clients want their advisors to understand their values to ensure their assets go to the people and causes they care about most. When asked, most clients agree that a charitable-giving strategy is part of their overall wealth strategy, whether the advisor recognizes it or not.

Here is a simple playbook to guide you through a client conversation to establish a charitable giving plan using a Charitable Checkbook or a Donor Advised Fund at the Omaha Community Foundation:

  • Call your clients’ attention to their giving history. They might not even know how much they are giving or how long they’ve been supporting their favorite nonprofits.
  • Gather more information about why the clients support those causes. Family tradition? Past involvement as a beneficiary of an organization’s services? Desire to impact a specific area of need?
  • Review any charitable giving provisions in the clients’ current will or trust. Are the clients leaving a bequest to their favorite nonprofits?
  • Is there a significant taxable event on the horizon, and would a charitable gift potentially reduce the tax burden?
  • Is there current income your client is looking to defer, such as from an IRA?

Use these questions as an opportunity to determine if your client may be a good fit for one of the many fund offerings at the Omaha Community Foundation.

If your clients are unfamiliar with a Charitable Checkbook or Donor Advised Fund, perhaps offer a quick primer and certainly offer to introduce them to a member of the Foundation’s Donor Services team.

Here are a few brief highlights of our Charitable Checkbook and Donor Advised Fund:

  • A Charitable Checkbook is a free fund (offering no investment returns) easily established by an individual or married couple that can serve as an entry point for charitable giving. The minimum to establish a Charitable Checkbook is $1,000.
  • Donor Advised Fund may be established by an individual, married couple, group, or business. Unlike a Charitable Checkbook, this Fund may be invested, with net returns accruing to the Fund tax-free. This Fund can be an effective alternative to a private foundation, thanks to fewer expenses to establish and maintain, maximum tax benefits, no excise taxes, and confidentiality (including the ability to donate anonymously to nonprofits). The minimum to establish a Donor Advised Fund is $25,000.
  • With either a Charitable Checkbook or Donor Advised Fund, donors may recommend which nonprofits (local or otherwise) they would like to donate to, including the timing and amount of the donations. Donations are easily recommended online using the Foundation’s giving platform.

The Omaha Community Foundation’s various fund options may provide your clients with immediate tax benefits and the flexibility to focus on how and when they want to make their impact in support of the causes they care about. Funds at the Foundation offer a competitive advantage over similar funds offered by commercial Donor Advised Fund providers (such as Fidelity or Schwab), because, at the Foundation, donors are part of a community of giving and have opportunities to collaborate with other donors who share similar interests. In addition, donors are supported in strategic grantmaking, and family philanthropy, and have opportunities to gain deep knowledge about local issues and nonprofits.

Conversations about philanthropy should be as important to you as they are to your clients. Starting those conversations today will help pave a clear path in how they want to define their legacy. Personalized giving strategies, investment management, estate planning, and tax planning are the key elements to help your clients mitigate taxes, save money, and make the most out of their impact.

The Omaha Community Foundation welcomes the opportunity to connect with you and your clients in support of their giving passions and priorities. Our tools, resources, and services are the perfect elements to add to your playbook as you prepare for your next conversation about community philanthropy.