Chances are, you’d like to turn the most influential professionals and entrepreneurs in your community into your clients. At the same time, you may be thinking about how your firm can make more of a difference and how you personally can leave a legacy. Getting involved with a local cause you are passionate about and becoming an influential contributor could help you achieve both goals. Giving back locally by donating your time to a charity or nonprofit organization is a great way to promote your business as you network and to work side-by-side with affluent business leaders, while making a positive impact on people’s lives at the same time.
Ready to get started? Here is a five-step action plan that you can use to get in front of wealthy, philanthropic leaders in your community:
1. Get informed:
You are likely already familiar with the major nonprofits or foundations in your community, but there is always more to learn. Fortunately, there are some helpful resources that can provide detailed information about nonprofit organizations in your area. One such resource is Guidestar, which provides an online database of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized charitable organizations across the country. The Foundation Center is another resource. Not only are these two organizations leading sources of information about philanthropy worldwide, but they also provide up-to-date data to help you compare the organizations in an easy, transparent way.
2. Join a nonprofit board or group:
Nonprofit organizations everywhere are desperate for experienced leaders. By joining a local board or volunteering for a charity or foundation, you will not only be able to identify and connect with board members and the organization’s supporters, but you will also expand your network of influential contacts, since an organization’s board members are often the family members and friends of the person whose wealth created the nonprofit. Your experience in the financial service industry makes you an attractive candidate for board membership or leadership. At the same time that you help the board fulfill its mission, you can also build visibility and credibility with senior executives, CPAs, attorneys and other successful entrepreneurs in your area.
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3. Share your expertise:
Nonprofits need individuals that are business savvy, especially as donors put the pressure on organizations to be more entrepreneurial and watch their bottom line. You can use your experience and business acumen to help nonprofits with issues such as business planning, budgeting and accounting. As you do this, you’ll work side by side with other successful business owners in different business fields. This is a great way to meet and develop strong relationships with new potential prospects.
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4. Think creatively:
In addition to getting personally involved with local nonprofits, you can also look for creative ways for your firm to support area organizations. Find inspiration by observing what other businesses are doing. One easy-to-execute idea: Use your office as a drop-off for various charitable drives during the year. For example, you might partner with your local food bank and then encourage your office team, family, friends, clients and prospects to drop off donations at your office.
5. Donate your services:
Consider sharing your professional financial expertise by contributing your time to families that need your services the most. Providing pro bono services can directly benefit a charitable organization’s clients. It’s also a great way to strengthen ties within your community. Or you might donate a financial plan to a charity auction event. This is a unique way to raise money for the charity or nonprofit while also raising awareness about your services as a financial advisor.
Making the effort to support charitable organizations and causes in your community demonstrates to discerning affluent individuals that you are the type of person whose business has a larger purpose, which is an excellent way to separate yourself from the competition. While volunteering and donating your time to a charity, community foundation or nonprofit in your community often requires a time commitment and some financial outlay, this initial investment can lead to significant opportunities and benefits—including increasing positive awareness of you and your firm among high-net-worth prospects—that will enhance your firm’s reputation while also building your business.