Pattianne Baran raises money every year for the Alzheimer’s Association. She contacts all of her clients, tells them about her family history with the disease and asks them to contribute. She has a patron who matches every contribution. The Lakewood, Ohio-based partner with LTC Financial Partners arrived at her passion for the cause the way most people seem to: through her family.
For two years Baran drove to New York on weekends to help her sisters take care of their Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. A stroke landed her mother in a nursing home, which wiped out her parents’ savings. Six months after her mother died, Baran’s brother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He was barely 40.
Baran quit her job, got certified to sell LTCI and embarked on a career she never saw coming: LTCI specialist. One of the original 35 partners with LTCFP, Baran, in addition to running her practice, has spent the last several years managing the household?paying the bills, watching the finances, supervising the 24/7, in-home care staff for a woman afflicted with cerebral palsy.
“It’s my job to give back,” Baran says of her charitable actions. Fortune smiled down on Rob Marshall, a senior financial advisor with West Des Moine, Iowa’s Ameriprise Financial, because he chose to take part?and a leadership role?in a charitable event. New to town, Marshall needed a way to get involved, and he found it when American Express Financial Advisors agreed to sponsor the National Kidney Foundation Classic Golf Tournament in Des Moines, and the Kidney Foundation asked if AEFA would provide a chairman. Enter Marshall, a golfer. What sold him at the time, he says, was the fact he got the foursome that came with the sponsorship. Fifteen years later, however, Marshall is still in charge.
“From that point, I had an unbelievable opportunity to raise money,” Marshall says. “But I also became connected in the community as a philanthropist and a financial advisor, at the same time. I couldn’t have put together a marketing plan that would provide the opportunity to meet the people I’ve met and get the clients I’ve gotten.”Marshall and Baran point out and it’s a sentiment echoed by many other advisors that they didn’t get involved with a business payoff in mind, but that once they got involved with doing the right thing, they were repaid many times over.
The owners of Frazier/Hunnicutt Financial in Portland, Ore., found the same thing when they started their charitable push five years ago. In fact, they now include their charitable activities in their planning.
“Community involvement is a large portion of what our professional marketing plan is,” says Andrew Frazier. “We do all the other stuff, too, but we’ve found that nothing has a bigger return than the charitable activities.”
And those returns aren’t just financial. Most of the ROI is in goodwill, which is beyond measure. For financial advisors who rely on relationships, that should speak for itself.”The indirect ROI has been more profitable,” Frazier says. “As we have gained roles in nonprofits, it has opened doors to other circles, and that has opened the doors to tons of referrals to other circles that extend beyond the organization.”