|2019 AiP Conference on Philanthropy Session and Event Summaries|
Following the 2019 AiP Conference on Philanthropy: Responsive Philanthropy AiP is happy to share the following summaries from a conference session or special event that took place from May 22-24, 2019. These summaries have been written by board and conference committee members. We hope these snapshots give you a better insight into the conference and we encourage you to save the date for our 2020 conference, which will take place in May 2020 in San Francisco (final date and location TBD).
August 14, 2019
Presented by: Phil Cubeta, CLU®, ChFC®, CAP®, AEP®, The American College; Tony Macklin, CAP®, Tony Macklin Consulting; and Jennie Zioncheck, CAP®, MFT, The Pittsburgh Foundation
Attending the 2019 International Advisors in Philanthropy Conference was a terrific experience for me as I am passionate about philanthropy and philanthropic advising! I make every effort to learn something new each day and be of service in some way, each day.
The session designed around The Melton Family Case Study, led by Tony Macklin, Phil Cubeta and Jennie Zioncheck was interactive and informative. The Case Study is being designed to be part of the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy program as a bonus assignment. Participants at AiP had the opportunity to read an abbreviated version of the Case Study, discuss it in small groups; and then hear how all session attendees interpreted the myriad issues. The Case Study wove issues around multi-generational family philanthropy, legacy, the philanthropic conversation, family dynamics, choosing the right philanthropic vehicle for a family, grantmaking, governance, the role of the advisor, a Foundation’s mission and goals, complex gifts--- just to name a few!
Below are some additional supplemental materials that include a summary version of the Case Study, along with some of the questions posed; and some responses from colleagues in the field.
Audrey L. Jacobs, The Sarafina Group, Inc.
July 29, 2019
Presented by: Rena Greifinger, Population Services International; Nancy Anderson, Population Services International; Marcie Cook, Population Services International; and Michael Holscher, Population Services International
A benefit of joining AIP is learning about systems changing organizations working around the world. At the 2019 conference a panel of experts from PSI, a leading global health non-profit organization shared their views on the role of the philanthropist and advisors in international grant making.
Population Services International (PSI) is a global nonprofit organization focused on the encouragement of healthy behavior and affordability of health products. PSI was founded in 1970 to improve reproductive health using commercial marketing strategies and has expanded to work in over 50 countries in the areas of malaria, family planning, HIV, diarrhea, pneumonia and sanitation.
Our panelist were a cross-section of leaders at PSI to provide a case study on how this organization – which is operating at global scale with many different funders – is using philanthropy to drive innovation and systems change.
Setting the stage for the conversation…Why is this such an important conversation to be having now?
There is a confluence of factors that are leading us, as a community, to a new wave in philanthropy:
Michael shared the role of the philanthropist:
PSI made a strategic decision around 2013 to not only start focusing on diversifying our funding portfolio to include more individual donors, but to deeply invest in those individuals as bold and creative advocates for change. It was not lost on us that philanthropists – particularly women – were seeking a different type of giving experience. One that not only leveraged their money – their treasure – but their time, talents and ties. The world we are trying to operate in is getting evermore complex and the health problems we are trying to solve warrant solutions that go far beyond what we as a public health organization know and have done for years.
Maverick Collective is an initiative of PSI inviting women funders to create change. Mavericks wanted to bring human-centered design to PSI to see if this “new” approach to problem solving and solution-design could help us really move the needle on teen pregnancy prevention in the developing world.
Human Centered Design is a creative problem solving approach that uses deep empathy building and involvement with the groups we are designing for; and rapid prototyping sessions that allow us to test many solutions, fail fast and forward, and land on solutions that come from the community rather than from the “experts”
Michael shared an example of one philanthropist’s journey. Pam Scott came to Tanzania many times, led trainings with PSI’s country and global teams and helped design innovative solutions to help girls access modern contraception. Her project and her $1 million investment positioned PSI to win a $30 million grant from the Gates Foundation and CIFF to take HCD for adolescent pregnancy prevention to scale across three countries. This is how PSI now does all adolescent work. Her investment came full circle and so did she. Pam joined the PSI board and has inspired the entire corporate strategy for reimagining healthcare.
The role of Advisors:
Maverick Collective was co-founded by PSI, Melinda Gates and the Crown Princess of Norway however it was philanthropy and wealth advisors that brought many of the founding members. There is a ton of interest right now in social enterprise and building new models of social impact investing and financing that go far beyond checkbook philanthropy on silo projects.
The role of the philanthropist:
Marcie shared her views on the importance of funding testing and implementing new approaches to social impact and PSI’s social enterprise vision.
As our organization moves into newer models of social impact, we are also attracting philanthropists that want to invest in those models, rather than in bespoke projects. Savvy philanthropists – especially those who come from impact investing backgrounds – really understand the importance of riskier investments in the creation of global models and driving institutional change around innovative financing approaches. It is important for us to have core, flexible funding to design and test ideas at the global level before we pilot in country, all with a vision for scale.
For example, Shaline Gnanalingam came to PSI through Pam Scott. Shaline is an impact investor and saw her family’s goal as a way to use their resources not only to generate more wealth, but also to have a positive impact. She is currently getting her MBA at University of Chicago and funding our social enterprise work at large.
The role of advisors:
Nancy shared her view of the role of the advisors and next generation philanthropist.
We are increasingly seeing links within banks between investment arm and philanthropic arm. One of our clients, Julia, always talks about the willingness of her advisor to listen and learn, and their willingness to present her with opportunities to listen and learn. There is a strong sense of checks and balances among the advisory team. They help her institute philanthropic strategies both as an individual and in light of the family foundation, where they co-create budgets and timelines on how much to give, and when – taking into account things like new tax laws that are being passed and so on.
Her family accountant, upon hearing about her work with Bard Prison Initiative, even made a donation in Julia’s name. This was such a profound moment for her, as she realized her own philanthropy had encouraged a financial advisor to give. This really connected her with the team, and her hope that she was helping to connect the whole team around a greater sense of purpose.
She cannot overstate the importance that her financial advisors take the time to explain difficult concepts over and over again, and that they constantly reinforce the idea that they are reachable any time for any question, however small.
The role of the philanthropist:
Rena, shared her view on donor activities.
There is a lot of interest and movement in the space of co-investment philanthropic models. High profile initiatives such as Co-Impact and the Audacious Project have made headlines, and particularly among women, we are seeing a move toward more grouped philanthropy, in order to reach scale. For example, Callie came to us through the Family Office Exchange – a network of family offices that has a program specifically for Rising Gen. We co-created an experience in which the rising gen could learn a new skill that PSI has expertise in, and apply it to their philanthropy. Why did the Advisor trust us? We brought something to teach – something for their client to walk away with.
Marty Dutch, First Foundation
July 10, 2019
Presented by: Robert G. Ottenhoff, Center for Disaster Philanthropy
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are known for our rainy winters and springs. The persistent dampness and temperate climate is what gives Washington State, where I live, its name, The Evergreen State. But in the past two years, I’ve witness the emergence of a new time of year, wildfire season.
Epic drought for the past several years has left the entire west coast parched and on the verge of ignition. Of all the horrible fires last summer, nothing was as devasting to human life as the Camp Fire which killed at least 85 people. The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest on record.
Though wildfires are prominent in the West, the summer months are also known for hurricanes in the South and tornadoes in the Midwest. But not all disasters are due to weather. They also include mass shootings, the refugee crisis and other man-made atrocities. All are horrible to witness and tug at our heartstrings. Calls for action are urgent and our instinct is to lend a hand. We want to help victims. We want to support first responders. So, we give.
In May, I attended the Advisors in Philanthropy Conference in Washington D.C. where I went to a plenary session on giving in the wake of disasters, and it was an eye-opening experience.
Robert Ottenhoff, CEO of Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) gave an impassioned presentation to the advisors in the audience about what is truly helpful in natural and man-made disasters. He told of how emergency responders classify emergencies as Sudden Onset (Hurricane Harvey, Pulse Shooting), Slow Onset (Ethiopian famine), or Complex (Syrian refugee or Southern border crisis) and how the nature of response is different for each. Developing intentionality around funding disasters is getting greater attention after a seemingly incessant spate of epic events due to the climate crisis and gun violence.
He spoke about how funders are (re)considering their role in preparation for and in response to disasters, what we have learned from some of the recent, large events, and finally, how we can best respond in ways that are proven to be beneficial, both in the short-term and long-term. Mr. Ottenhoff’s presentation shared useful tips and approaches for donors about how best to incorporate disaster giving in their charitable portfolio.
He began with the numbers of how we currently give. In the US, disaster giving is quick off the mark and reactive:
About a third of all US households gave to disasters giving an average of $81, but the vast majority of that giving is in the immediate days of the tragedy. What we don’t often hear in the media is the still dire needs of a community once the tragedy has moved out of the news cycle. Consider this from CDP:
When disaster drives people from their community, it can result in:
And for those who stay, they often face . . .
As these events become more regular, it’s crucial that individual donors, and especially corporations and foundations, be more thoughtful and strategic in their giving. But the challenge in doing so is obvious. When disaster hits, the flurry of urgent appeals on social and traditional media can be overwhelming; leading many to donating the wrong things to the wrong non-profits at the wrong time. One striking anecdote that Mr. Ottenhoff shared was the number of coats and jackets sent to Hurricane Harvey victims (in Texas), which not only could they not use, but they also had to spend precious resources finding a way to store, then donate them elsewhere.
The CDP is a specialist in the area and they play an important role in helping funders go from being reactive to strategic. He concluded by reminding us that all funders are disaster funders and that catastrophic events tend to fall outside of normal grantmaking guidelines for the average donor. With that said, the aftermath of emergencies reach far and wide affecting housing, vulnerable populations (low income, seniors, people of color), education, health, and more. It is crucial that all donors consider the full arc of disasters and the full scope of their needs for an effective recovery.
While it is common to think of them as discrete events with fixed beginnings and ends, emergency first responders generally think of disasters in "lifecycles" that happen before, during, and after a devastating event: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Understanding what is needed in each phase can help the donor decide where they can provide the greatest need by the strategic deployment of their time and treasure.
Mr. Ottenhoff left the group with key takeaways for effective disaster philanthropy: Give cash. Fund local. Fund long-term. Fund medium-to long-term recovery efforts. Learn from others.
Stephanie Ellis-Smith, CAP®, Phila Engaged Giving
July 9, 2019
AiP Annual Meeting and Jeffersonian Dinner: Wednesday, May 20, 2019
The International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP) proudly presented their Conference on Philanthropy 2019: Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, DC, this past May. Bringing together a diverse group of financial advisors, attorneys, insurance professionals, accountants and non-profit executives. Attendees experienced a Jeffersonian Dinner as part of the first night’s traditional Annual Meeting, and a brief AiP Update. The Jeffersonian Dinner was a great way to foster and expand our cause-centered community, while broadening the network of individuals connected with the existing AiP community. It was only fitting for this type of dinner to take place in our nation’s capital where it all began.
So what is a Jeffersonian Dinner? Jeffersonian Dinners were one of the highlights of the day for Thomas Jefferson and his guests to Monticello. Jefferson engineered conversations at dinner that helped people discover their common humanity. The dinner operated on a simple — but critical — shift in standard dinner party dynamics — everyone talked about one topic to the entire table, rather than the person sitting next to you. The goal of a Jeffersonian Dinner was to listen, learn and inspire each other through meaningful dialogue on a single important issue. This very format offered AiP the opportunity to enhance the overall conference experience, as well as, deepen the relationships between attendees.
The purpose of the AiP Jeffersonian Dinner was to build a sense of community and partnership around our shared interest – in our case, philanthropy. A table host guided the conversation at each table to share values, inspire new ideas, and make connections with fellow conference attendees. The tables were arranged in such a way that no table was a collective from one organization and/or field, but intentional diversity. All interested in AiP’ s mission, from supported related causes, offering the background knowledge and connections that enabled them to contribute to an interesting dialogue about their work, and offer ideas on how to further the philanthropic conversation.
We discouraged the one-on-one conversation in favor of everything that was said was directed to the entire group, just as Thomas Jefferson himself ordained. In order to accomplish this goal, a pre-announced question was used to elicit personal feelings, stories, and experiences relevant to the evening’s theme, Responsive Philanthropy. The very first question asked was, “Why are you involved in philanthropy and why is it important to you?” The opening question was designed toelicit stories (rather than, for example, canned opinions, theoretical discussions, or discussion of what a person does for a living). The table moderator gently guided participants along the pathway of the public narrative controlling each participant’s answer to two- three minutes in duration. This also prevented a dominant individual who was the focal point or “star” of the evening and encouraged an open-ended dialogue. All were able to contribute equally and ask follow-up questions to each person’s response.
After each attendee had the chance to describe one or more personal experiences related to the theme of the evening, the moderator asked how these experiences are connected with the interests of the entire group and then within the work of the AiP organization. We concluded the evening by asking everyone in attendance how they planned follow up on the evening’s discussion. It was a highly effective structure because it worked! AiP’ s Jeffersonian Dinner generated a host of informal connections, networking opportunities, and follow-up conversations among dinner attendees, with long-term benefits that may take months or years to explore and develop. I know I personally walked away with the promise connecting with my other dinner guests to work on possible collaborations in the future. Most important, the Jeffersonian Dinners was a lot of fun! Participants found this approach far more stimulating, thought-provoking, and engaging than a typical conference kick-off dinner.
Mary Jovanovich, Schwab Charitable
July 1, 2019
Presented by: Rebecca Emami, Orr Group
AiP is comprised of philanthropic, wealth, tax and legal professionals who embrace the philanthropic conversation as a means of fostering deeper connections with their clients and making a lasting impact on their communities. The annual AiP conference provides an opportunity for these advisors to gain fresh perspectives from top shelf speakers and share best practices with fellow professionals who share their same interest in philanthropy. Many of the conference sessions revolved around the important topics of what assets, tools and techniques to use – the “how” and “with what” of philanthropic giving. Very important topics indeed, but personally, I’m fixated on the “why” - how those assets, tools, and techniques can be applied to help our clients get the most joy from their wealth, and in turn the most joy from their giving.
With that said, I was delighted to moderate one of the more interesting “why” sessions at this year’s conference, presented by Rebecca Emami of the Orr Group. Rebecca’s session was focused on the transfer of wealth within High and Ultra-High Net Worth families, and the role that philanthropy can play in preparing heirs for their places in a family’s work, whether that be a family business or a family foundation. What resonated most with me about the session was the practical, operational advice that Rebecca offered. It’s almost obligatory in a presentation like this to talk about the size and potential impact of generational wealth transfer. As tens of trillions in assets change hands, we owe it to our rising generations to pass along our values along with those assets. Rebecca laid out a plan to do this. She detailed a structured, multi-phased program designed to engage and educate children and young adults. As they progress through the program, participants encouraged to work in groups, exploring their values and how those values might be reflected in their giving. Together, as a family, they set goals, research and engage nonprofits, make grants, and then evaluate the impact of those contributions. In the end the families Rebecca works with learn about wealth. They build philanthropic acuity and learn about community impact. And they learn how to think and act as a family. The over-arching lesson is “You’re not about what you have, you’re about who you are!”
Jay Weisman, CAP®, Legacy Philanthropy Group
June 28, 2019
Presented by: Mary Jovanovich, Schwab Charitable
Each year, I look forward to the AIP conference. This year, two events out of the many, tugged at my heart strings: the Celebration of Philanthropy dinner at the National Archives where I was able to view the Women’s Voting Rights Exhibit and second was the Gender-Lens Giving presentation at the conference. Both touched me deeply as an advisor in philanthropy and as a woman. Women’s Voting Rights exhibit demonstrated how women had to fight for voting rights (for more information, go to www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2019/nr19-43) but both were confirmations of how far women have come and that we do make an impact and a difference in the world.
Let me give you some highlights of the second event. The Gender-Lens Giving session started as a heartwarming story of a young girl who had to be caregiver for her elderly aunt who was not able to read. It describes the events of her life where she grew and came to appreciate the value of education and giving back. I love that the presenter Mary Jovanovich allowed herself to be vulnerable and was able to share with us her personal life journey. Her story served as a backdrop of where we women, as a gender, have come from.
We explored the growing financial power of women in the US where we gained an understanding of the most recent research on women’s giving through facts and data.
Below is a brief synopsis:
I was touched by the fact that the presenter was one woman who grew in strength and power and that as a collective group, we are changing the world and helping to fuel the momentum that benefits not only women, but our families and our community one gift at a time. Through Mary, I have now found a new resource who will help me continue to build my practice by incorporating charitable planning into our wealth management practice.
As I write this summary, I am looking forward to next year’s AiP Conference in San Francisco and I have saved the date for May 2020.
Andi Y. H. Kang, CAP®, BFA™, CFP®, Crown Wealth Management
June 24, 2019
3 Key Take-Aways from the 2019 AiP Conference on Philanthropy
Recently, the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy held their national conference in Washington, D.C., from May 22 through May 24. I have always considered it very important for professionals of any kind to continue professional development by attending conferences and other events to help them broaden their knowledge, hone their skills, and become more effective and impactful. In attending the annual conference in Washington, D.C., I was not disappointed! I came away with three take-aways that are certainly worth sharing. These are:
1. Philanthropy’s importance in our future
2. The increasing breadth and complexity of the philanthropy and the need for niche advisors
3. The affirmation of the importance of trust in relationships
Philanthropy’s Importance in Our Future
One of the main highlights of the conference was the "Celebration of Philanthropy in America” dinner event sponsored by CAF America, a global grant-making nonprofit organization that is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The reception and dinner were held at the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the other national archives are kept. As we ate dinner next to the rotunda that housed these sacred documents that have served as the guiding foundation for our country for more than 200 years, I could not help but reflect on the role that we each serve in preserving and celebrating all the freedoms we all hold so dear. I thought how we each give so generously to our families, our local communities, and our country. “We the people"—both individually and collectively—have the opportunity and responsibility to transcend ourselves and use our own unique giving gifts to better the lives of others, our communities, and to heal our nation. It is through our "giving hearts" that we can bring our own passions and resources to the forefront to make a difference, bring meaning to our lives, transform the lives of others, and to better our communities.
As a result of attending the AiP Conference, I find myself with increased purpose and meaning so that I can help others transcend themselves to give and become more effective at using their own unique skills and talents, their time, their financial resources, and their trusted relationships to make an impact. For you see, it is through our individual and collective philanthropic giving—using both traditional and leading-edge philanthropic tools and techniques— that we can make the changes we would like to see. We each have a great opportunity to not only become better versions of ourselves but, more importantly, to make a difference in helping and serving others and to a cause greater than self.
The Increasing Breadth and Complexity of Philanthropy
The AIP conference was extremely valuable and included a wide range of topics from the latest philanthropic research, to multigenerational family philanthropy, to venture philanthropy, to the technical aspects of philanthropic giving (and more!). With the diversity of the sessions presented at the conference, it was reinforced that for philanthropic giving to be effective, meaningful, and impactful, there is a growing need for philanthropic specialization amongst professional advisors and the emergence of philanthropic “coaching” as a distinct niche. We, as professional advisors and coaches, can not “know it all”. If philanthropic giving is to be truly effective and impactful, advisors and coaches need to take advantage of continuing education opportunities to develop a wide range of skill sets; both in the softer skillsets of donor engagement and, technically, in helping donors navigate the increasing complexity of the philanthropic sector.
The Affirmation of the Importance of Trust in Relationships
One key take-away from the AiP Conference was the affirmation of the importance of trust in relationships. I attended the conference with an intent to pay attention to the role of trust in relationships from the conference presentations. I purposefully reached out, engaged with, and learned from other philanthropic advisors from across this great land. Those in attendance included philanthropic consultants, nonprofit professionals from all kinds of organizations, professional advisors such as attorneys, wealth advisors, CPAs, and donors from various generations. The opportunity to network exceeded all my expectations and re-emphasized to me the importance of diversity and inclusion, and affirmed the need to embrace the opportunity to build relationships with others. By attending the AiP Conference, I have an expanded group of resources from which to reach out for specialized expertise and feedback.
Greg Doepke, CAP®, CFP®, Aspire to Give™
June 19, 2019
Even though our dinner at the Archives was an "off agenda" special event, I wanted to write a review to summarize what all agreed was likely the highlight of our 2019 AiP Conference. According to Charities Aid Foundation, the U.S. leads the world in individual annual giving at 1.44% of GDP with Canada in the second position at .77%. In 2017, total U.S. giving totaled about $410 billion. Our country was founded on a concept of shared community responsibility and philanthropy began soon after the first settlers landed at Plymouth Rock. It is precisely this personal liberty and freedom that creates opportunity for wealth creation and the self imposed expectation of giving back that the 56 original signators to the Declaration of Independence were endeared to. Thomas Jefferson said, “Free a slave and a free man will take his place.” Voluntary exchange and voluntary giving back are fundamental to the success of a capitalistic organized economy.
I’m a huge fan of our revolutionary history and was awe struck to be in the same room as the Declaration of Independence along with other crucial documents and historical artifacts. Under the protective glass was the most important document ever drafted that recognized and promoted human dignity as free souls with free will. Up to that point in time, the treatment of humans on the planet can only be described as miserable. Imagine those 56 men gathering together to say to the most powerful country on earth, ‘We really think you guys should go back to England. We will run things here from now on.’ Picking a fight with the king was not a popular concept! Yet they were willing to take a stand in an effort to create a more dignified human experience based on natural laws.
Our important work in the philanthropic world is crucial and was made possible by our founders. Many of the original 56 signers suffered at the hands of the British military and their own countrymen known as the Tories who remained loyal to the British empire. 3% of the colonists actively took up arms against the British. Another 10% actively supported them with roughly another 15% sympathetic to the cause. Those are not good odds and yet these men mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and sacred honor. We enjoy the fruits of the greatest experiment in personal liberty and freedom the world has ever seen. I found it inspiring to be in the room with the souls of those who made it happen. Thank you to CAF America for a positively splendid evening.
Michael Handrick, CAP®, ChFC®, Handrick Planning
June 13, 2019
Presented by: Akhtar Badshah
Every year at the AiP Conference, we have excellent speakers. I have been attending and leading in some sort of capacity for 18 years. This year I was delighted to have confirmed Akhtar Badshah, University of Washington Professor, and Chief Catalyst, at the Catalytic Innovators Group. Dr. Badshah has an incredible journey, including immigrating to the US as a young man with nothing in his pockets, creating a new life in the states, applying to, becoming accepted, and then earning a PhD at MIT, and spending 10 years at Microsoft in corporate philanthropy, and speaking all over the world to those willing to listen and be challenged to “Transform Moments to Movements.”
Why Dr. Badshah was Great for Us: Dr. Badshah speaks on topics such as corporate philanthropy, urban development, sustainability, social innovation, youth and entrepreneurship and disruptive technology. The topic he chose for us at the AiP 2019 conference was Transforming Moments to Movements and I wanted to share a few key takeaways with you.
He has created a program called “Accelerating Social Transformation (AST)” and teaches using the AST Method (more can be found at the AST website). The AST method accomplishes the following:
In his AiP presentation in May, he spoke about how our moments can be the triggers to create movements that truly transform the globe for good. These moments could be events like Hurricane Katrina, the one-time cataclysmic hurricane that resulted in a massive outpouring of funds, help, and compassion from all corners of America. He spoke about how this continued into relief systems so that during the next storm, relief funds, donations, and logistics could deployed in the fraction of time it took to mobilize for Hurricane Katrina relief.
The 6 Key Principles Dr. Badshah Shared With Us:
He also shared a valuable lesson: It’s about COMPASSION, not PASSION. In this lesson, he encouraged us to think about how the moments in our own personal lives, that create a passion in us to act, the passion is not enough. To make lasting change, we must use that to transform that effort into an effective compassionate effort – one that lasts and stands the test of time. The passion can be the catalyst, but it is the compassion that lasts.
He also shared with us some key points to apply to our own legacy & philanthropy journey:
I have to say that Dr. Badshah’s presentation to us, including his personality, his life story, and his wisdom communicated in his talk, left a deep and profound mark in the way that I think about Moments and Movements. If we can each individually be about such great ideals that are transformed into effective action, the world would indeed be transformed into a better state.
Alan Pratt, CAP®, CEP, Pratt Legacy Advisors
June 7, 2019
Presented by: Molly Norton, Brighton Jones
The first thing that struck me was that Molly’s position even existed (full time philanthropic advisor) – having served in the non-profit space for her career, she transitioned to Brighton Jones worried that her role in expanding philanthropy throughout the firm would land her in the marketing department essentially doing PR work. However, the firm’s leadership was committed to putting a stake in the ground as a company rooted in compassion and that meant bringing real engagement to clients around charitable giving. They elevated the philanthropic conversation to hold a core place in their process alongside cash flow management, investments, risk management, and tax & estate planning. Molly is brought into client meetings regularly, across the firm’s footprint, to speak directly to their giving.
Every client was not ready to dive all-in into a compassion-based conversation, but those that were, are now experiencing an enriched experience and greater satisfaction around their money and their giving. And they are also quickly becoming the raving fans of the firm that tend to lead to the most meaningful referrals. Aside from simply elevating the conversation, they’ve taken clients on transformative philanthropic trips to Africa – how’s that for broadening their core services! They’ve had to add more trips to the calendar to include a summer trip so that families can go and the sessions all have wait lists.
The company is living the value of compassion as well, not just trying to draw it out of their clients. This authenticity is very likely one of the biggest contributors to their success in clearly defining their company’s brand. They have made a commitment to give 1% of revenues to charitable causes. They give unlimited PTO for volunteering. They offer matching contributions and support employee and client causes whenever possible with their time, money, talent, and networks. As a wealth management team with a desire to make philanthropy a larger part of our practice, Molly’s presentation provided something to aspire to.