Why Donors Work with Philanthropic Advisors
by Ken Nopar, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, AEF
Though most people feel very comfortable in making all of their philanthropic decisions themselves, increasingly some financial, legal, and tax advisors and their high net worth clients recognize that the clients could use some assistance. These decisions to work with philanthropic advisory firms frequently occur when there is some transition in the donors’ lives. These donors have often experienced a recent liquidity event such as the sale of a business, inheritance, divorce or retirement and the donors want to begin their charitable journey. Other donors seek help when they have already been philanthropic but want or need to assess their progress or change direction.
Pure philanthropic advisory firms complement the work of professional advisors and do not provide tax, legal, or investment advice. The professional advisors often recommend the use of philanthropic advisory firms when the conversation and needs exceed their own level of expertise. These firms regularly help donors achieve their charitable goals by providing the following services:
- Develop charitable mission
- Establish grantmaking strategy
- Identify or evaluate non-profit organizations to support
- Involve children or other family members or advisors
- Facilitate family meetings about philanthropy
- Assess progress or evaluate impact
- Manage their charitable giving activities
- Advise or coach donors
Some of these engagements are brief and simply help donors get started, while others are far lengthier and continue for many years. On a deeper level, some of these firms serve as their clients’ philanthropic gate-keeper and manage their annual giving, conducting site visits, reviewing proposals, and helping to negotiate significant donations.
AEF has identified and worked with the leading philanthropic advisory firms in the country and is able to refer its donors to these firms. In many situations, AEF will enable its donors to pay for some or all of the services for these firms from their AEF accounts. Please look at the Philanthropic Advisory Firm Referral Program information for additional details.