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How to Make Your Philanthropic Spirit Contagious

by | Nov 27, 2017 | Blog

Today, Giving Tuesday marks its 6th anniversary. The movement, which was co-created by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations, celebrates and encourages generosity and has led to over $369 million donated to-date. The effort has proved successful primarily because giving is contagious. With this in mind, financial advisors have a significant opportunity to influence their clients to become more philanthropic, by merely being more philanthropic themselves.

The University of California, San Diego and Harvard University researched the contagious nature of giving and discovered you only need a small number of people to influence dozens more to give. When people witness or are the benefactors of generous and kind acts, they too are inspired to help others, causing a ripple effect of charitable works.

Each year, we get to witness this phenomenon of contagious giving at our annual conference. At our recent annual conference, we conducted an auction benefitting the Seattle Children’s Hospital. With each new hand that went up to bid and donate, multiples followed. Within an hour we had raised over $50,000 for Children’s. Collectively we had channeled our efforts to realize a significant donation.

When you think about charity and giving generously, many assume that the bulk of donations are from foundations and corporations. In reality, individuals collectively donate much more. According to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, individuals gave $281.86 billion while the total donated by foundations and corporations was $77.83 billion. The U.S. Trust reported the average household donated $2,520 and wealthy families donated an average of $25,509.  Beyond monetary donations, half of wealthy households reported volunteering too. Are you also giving your time and excess wealth? Through your actions, are you spreading the act of giving?

Beyond making a valued and thoughtful contribution on Giving Tuesday and in the months and years ahead, consider sparking a contagious culture of philanthropy in your practice. Here are some ways to make your charitable work count even more.

  1. Make your philanthropic work known to your clients. Include the charities you support on your website. Provide your clients with information on some of your charitable goals and update them on your efforts.
  2. Ask your clients about the charities they volunteer and support. If appropriate, implement a program where you and your staff help their charitable efforts too.
  3. Invite charitable organizations to attend your larger client events. Give them the opportunity to speak and introduce themselves to your clients.
  4. Help your clients identify if they have excess wealth and a charity that aligns with their passion and values.
  5. Instead of avoiding the topic of charitable giving, incorporate charitable planning into your suite of financial planning services.
  6. Volunteer as a group at an event and invite your clients to attend too.

We too have launched a program to highlight the charitable works of our member advisors. Our goal for Financial Advocates Partners in Philanthropy is to spread the act of giving by promoting our advisor community’s philanthropic contributions, bringing awareness to the charities our advisors support, and shining a light on the collective impact Financial Advocates has in our community, the nation, and the world.

Enjoy giving today, Giving Tuesday and be sure to spread the news of your good deed. Though this may go against your manners, the more you share, the more giving grows.