Hawaii Community Foundation
Professional Advisors



Ice Breakers: Three Easy Openers to Talk About Philanthropy

Approaching charitable giving priorities with clients is easier than you think. Follow the three tips below to make approaching the conversation with every client simple and productive.

  1. Show genuine interest.
    Dale Carnegie’s maxim, “To be interesting, be interested,” is good advice for nearly every social or business encounter. Especially with charitable giving topics, showing interest is important because giving is very personal and emotional. When you are reviewing a client’s tax return, for example, inquire about the charitable organizations the client supports. You’ll likely be amazed at the stories they will share about each gift.
  2. Stay relevant.
    Tax reform is on the minds of many clients. This gives you an opening to talk about potential changes to the tax rates and what might happen to capital gains treatment. Explore each client’s balance of charitable interests versus leaving inheritances to family members. Charitable clients will be glad to know you are up to date on lobbying efforts of nonprofit sector leaders. Indeed, many charitable clients serve on nonprofit boards whose members also would find this information useful. For example, in its April 16, 2021 letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, the Charitable Giving Coalition noted that the charitable deduction is “unique” and “promotes a selfless act, incentivizing taxpayers to give more funds to charities than they would otherwise give.”
  3. Be authentic that this is a tough time for us all.
    Every person has been affected by the pandemic in some way. Sharing your own experiences and impressions of 2020 and early 2021 may encourage clients to open up. Charitable giving is a natural topic of this conversation. According to a study conducted by Candid, U.S. foundations, corporations, and individual donors stepped up by granting more than $10.7 billion as of early 2021 to address pandemic-related challenges. “There is no doubt that philanthropy has responded to COVID-19 on a scale not seen before,” note the study’s authors. Inspiring statistics like these bring home the importance of charitable giving as part of a family’s overall financial and estate plan. For a look back on how HCF worked in close collaboration with partners and donors to meet the COVID-19 challenges in our own community, click here.