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Financial Planning > Trusts and Estates

You get what you give

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Reaching high-net-worth individuals can be a daunting challenge, there’s no doubt. But an excellent way to gain access to such individuals is through charity work. (And yes, you must actually be passionate about the cause.) We know many advisors who have developed profitable relationships with like-minded individuals who are big supporters of charities. One advisor manages more than $1 billion in assets thanks to relationships he has built through his active charity work.

In order to attract high-net-worth individuals, you must first get in front of them so they can learn that you exist. Sending out a direct-mail letter to a cold list of individuals is likely to fail. But, if you serve on the oft-ignored development committee for a nonprofit in your community, you will immediately become something of a rock star. And, more important, you will be asked to build relationships with major donors (those aforementioned high-net-worth individuals). Suddenly, you will find yourself elevated to a totally different position in their eyes.

Nonprofits need help more than ever — it is a great time to get involved. Doing so offers you the opportunity to meet with others who care about the same thing and to forge your own relationships with them. Ask them to lunch, meet at their offices, ask for their advice on how you can better advance the cause. Eventually they will ask where you work and you will find yourself in the perfect position to share what you do with someone who already likes and trusts you.

So find a cause that means something to you and see how you can get involved. With a little effort, maybe you can make a positive impact in the world — and your sales numbers.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to