Discussing Charitable Giving

Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) is very proud of the work we do to help professional advisors strengthen their relationships with clients.

For decades, professional advisors and donors have been talking to us about charitable giving. We know that great giving means finding a great fit, and we are happy to help with that. We work with organizations in the community every day, so we can help your clients match their goals with local needs and opportunities, without the obligation to make a gift to ECF.

Below, you will find some helpful tips about why, how, and when to ask your clients about charitable giving. We’re happy to answer any questions you pay have, please get in touch with a donor advisor.

Why ask?

Raising the issue of charitable giving with your clients can be deeply rewarding — on both a personal and professional level. Talking about philanthropy can strengthen your client relationships and make a difference in your community at the same time.

Your clients expect you to help them create effective financial plans that take care of their families and friends, minimize their taxes, and reflect their values. Many choose to include philanthropy in their plans. They do this primarily to make a positive difference, but also to enjoy the tax and financial benefits that result.

In Alberta, the individual tax credit is 50% of the gift amount. It may be 54% to the extent your client has income over $200,000 annually.

Click here to visit our simple-to-use tax calculator to help illustrate to your clients how much tax a gift can save.

In addition to tax benefits, a client’s ability to provide for a charitable gift often produces a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction — leading to gratitude for you helping to grow their personal impact.

How to ask?

Asking your clients about including charitable gifts is sound practice, but knowing how to ask is what truly makes the difference.

The UK Institute of Fundraising undertook a study in 2013 to compare the results when three different approaches were taken by lawyers preparing wills.

A better question led to over six times the support for charities. The three approaches were:

  • No question about charities was asked.
  • Test 1 – “Would you like to leave any money to a charity in your will?”
  • Test 2 – “Many of our clients like to leave money to a charity in their will. Are there causes you are passionate about?”

Amazingly, almost 5% of people included a gift to charity even when a question was not asked. The percent doubled by asking the first question. The average value of the gift did not increase.

However, more than 15% included a gift to charity in the third case. Not only that, the average gift amount was doubled.

When to ask?

The perfect time for you to ask your client about charitable giving is when you want to know your client better, improve your relationship, and spark new discussions.

Here are some of the most common effective touch points:

  • Year-end tax planning or tax return;
  • RRSP season;
  • Insurance discussions;
  • Will and estate discussions;
  • If your client asks about a private foundation;
  • During significant life transitions, such as:
    • Sale of a business or other major asset;
    • Retirement and retirement planning;
    • Converting an RRSP into a RRIF;
    • Downsizing and sale of a home/cottage etc.;
    • Receiving an inheritance or other windfall; or
    • Readjusting assets after the death of a loved one.