Humanizing Your Financial Advice for Giving Clients

Humanizing Your Financial Advice for Giving Clients

The American College of Financial Services
May 12, 2020

Imagine attending a baseball game with someone who has no interest in the sport while you’re trying to sit back, relax, and enjoy the game. Nothing can destroy rapport with someone, even a friend, more quickly than a feeling that their personal interests aren’t aligned with yours. This is true of many things in life, including clients’ choice of a financial advisor who can help clients with their planned giving.

Philanthropy is rooted, first and foremost, in passion for a group or cause. Your job is to listen and learn about your client’s gift planning interests. If you come across as only concerned with financial planning matters, such as wealth management and taxation, instead of what’s meaningful to them, then you aren’t properly doing your job. To be an effective advisor, you must know what drives your client. They must also trust that you have their best interests in mind. The required skills needed for planned giving are beyond technical financial planning knowledge and include being able to relate and having empathy.  

One of the most effective and appreciated gestures financial advisors can make is to offer sincere support and understanding of their clients’ highest aspirations. Say, for example, your clients John and Mary decide to sell their small business. By working with other expert advisors, you can help clients provide for themselves, their family, and their community through gift planning. By effectively translating much of the technical jargon to form a charitable giving plan they understand and can implement and ensuring a team of chartered advisors have John and Mary’s goals in mind, you have done your clients a great service. An effective financial advisor also works closely with the organizations that have benefited from the client’s charitable giving. They will ensure the client receives news of how the gift was used and which groups benefited from it. This accountability feedback loop is crucial for the client and the organization as they continue to build trust in their relationship. You’ve managed to now become a trusted financial advisor to your client and at the same time, become a good friend to the nonprofit organization and a potential referral source.   

Learning about community needs and being active in nonprofits that pique your interest is good for business and good for your personal growth as well. Start by asking yourself these questions: What change do I want to see? What causes or nonprofits are important to me? Why do I want to support them? What impact do I want my charitable giving to have on my community and the world around me? If you haven’t been involved in community or nonprofits  before, now may be a good time to start. Do some research on what local nonprofits, community foundations, or other groups you and your family might be interested in. With personal practice comes experience that could benefit your business and help clients.


A higher calling awaits.


Whether they’re high-net-worth individuals, boomer business owners in transition, or concerned members of the community, your clients may want to give back—and there’s never been a better or more needed time. For some clients, their generosity can be a simple gesture, but for others it may require some additional thought and expertise. Having a partner with a deep understanding of their financial and personal circumstances, along with expertise and experience in philanthropy and gift planning, ensures giving is effective and impactful.   

As a specialist in continuing education and professional designations, The American College of Financial Services is here to help with a curriculum focused on charitable giving success. Our guide, 12 Steps to Position Your Practice With Philanthropy, provides these and other tips from our Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) program, along with steps you can take right now to help your clients maximize their charitable giving impact and secure their legacy, including estate planning, through our CAP® designation. Download now and read more about the CAP® program at

Invest in your career with a professional designation.

One of the keys to philanthropic success is proper financial planning. Through the three-course Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) designation program, you will learn how to help philanthropies maximize their donations and resources. The CAP® is designed for experienced professionals in both the financial services and nonprofit sector, and gives you the power to do more with your career.

Learn More