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Charitable Giving: Expand Your Horizons to Make More Sales
By giving your clients creative options for charitable giving, you can do well for yourself by helping them do good.
The numbers are staggering: Charitable giving totaled $248.5 billion in 2004, according to the Giving USA Foundation. It’s not just for the rich; many folks with modest assets give generously.
Profiting from charitable giving starts with winning the client’s trust, establishing a relationship and demonstrating your expertise. After you’ve warmed up your prospect and connected as a human being, ask questions such as: “Do you plan to leave any of your estate to your church or other charity?” “Do you have a gifting strategy to help lower your taxes?”
Clients find this refreshing. They see you’re not just looking for a sale or pushing a product. Instead, you’re showing that you’re evaluating their entire financial situation and are providing alternatives that your competitors do not. The client thinks, “I should work with this person!”
Let’s look at some of the alternatives for implementing a gifting program.
Life insurance offers a great way to give to charity. Perhaps your client or prospect already has all the insurance he or she needs. You can suggest designating a portion of the death benefit to go to a favorite charity. This doesn’t give you an immediate sale, but again shows that you’re offering solutions and smart thinking.
But perhaps you do have a client who needs more life insurance and who wants to support a charity. Allocating some to the heirs and some to charity is a kills-two-birds-with-one-stone strategy that demonstrates your innovative thinking and helps you walk away with a bigger sale. If the client’s estate is taxable, this move will reduce estate tax.
Annuities also offer many giving options. One of the simplest steps is to change the beneficiary to a charity. If the annuity is past the surrender period, you often can replace the old annuity with a new annuity that offers better features or a higher interest rate.