Discussing charitable giving with clients can deepen your client relationships and help you grow your practice. A 2016 survey by U.S. Trust found that nearly all high-net-worth donors (94%) are curious to know more about charitable giving. This signals an opportunity for advisors to become a vital resource for clients with an offering that differentiates their practice and encourages organic growth through deeper client relationships.

Charitable planning often starts with understanding a client’s dreams and goals, including their philanthropic goals, but you may be unsure about how to initiate the conversation. Seven events that are common in client relationships give advisors an opportunity to explore charitable giving.

1. Appreciated assets in the portfolio

In reviewing your clients’ portfolios, look for appreciated securities that would result in capital gains on a sale. Ask clients if they are currently involved in any charitable giving. If so, explain that by donating appreciated assets directly to a charity or donor-advised fund, they can help minimize taxes by avoiding capital gains, resulting in up to 20% more for the charity of their choice.1

2. New client meeting

When getting to know a client at an initial meeting, ask how they give to charity currently. Is charitable giving important to them, and if so what are some of their charitable giving goals? You can also build a connection by sharing insight into your own philanthropic interests.

3. Tax planning

When reviewing a client’s tax return, check to see if they give to charity. If so, this is a good opportunity to discuss tax-efficient ways to give, such as donating through a donor-advised fund, with appreciated assets or by utilizing the IRA charitable rollover (available to donors over the age of 70 ½).Major tax event

4. Major tax event

In planning for a major tax event from the potential sale of an appreciated asset such as real estate, a privately held business (C or S Corp.), restricted stock, bitcoin or private equity, ask your clients if they have considered donating a portion of the assets to charity. This could potentially help minimize taxes, while increasing the amount they could give.

5. Retirement planning

When helping clients think about their retirement expenses, ask if they want to plan for any charitable giving.

6. Family Giving

Philanthropy can be used to help educate children about money and values. If clients have children, ask if they’ve considered involving their family in their charitable giving. This can also be an opportunity to connect with the younger generation.

7. Estate/Legacy planning

If you are discussing a client’s estate, ask if they are planning to leave assets to any charitable organizations, or if they’ve considered engaging their family in their charitable giving. While an estate plan typically consists of legal documents, it can also serve as a communication tool that reflects a client’s values and leaves a lasting legacy.

Incorporating charitable planning into wealth management can help you connect with clients on a deeper level, differentiate you from the competition, and build trust that leads to referrals. Visit SchwabCharitable.org to learn more about helping clients reach their charitable goals.


1 The article addresses gifts of appreciated assets that have been held for more than a year. The tax deduction for non-cash gifts to a public charity or donor-advised fund account may be used to offset up to 30 percent of adjusted gross income and can be carried forward for five years. The donor must file IRS Form 8283 for contributed securities valued at greater than $500. For gifts other than cash and publicly traded securities in excess of $5,000 ($10,000 for closely held stock), the donor must also obtain a qualified appraisal.

Schwab Charitable is the name used for the combined programs and services of Schwab Charitable Fund, an independent nonprofit organization. The Schwab Charitable Fund has entered into service agreements with certain affiliates of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Schwab Charitable does not provide specific individualized legal or tax advice. Please consult a qualified legal or tax advisor where such advice is necessary or appropriate.

A donor’s ability to claim itemized deductions is subject to a variety of limitations depending on the donor’s specific tax situation.

Schwab Charitable accepts illiquid assets for contribution on a case by case basis.

(1017-7EKD)

© Schwab Charitable

Learn more about this firm