January 24, 2022

Philanthropic Planning: Guiding Your Clients by Asking the Right Questions

Author John Canady, Chief Executive Officer

Following the events of the last two years, philanthropy continues to play a crucial role in rebuilding communities, many of which are still reeling from the combined social and economic effects of the pandemic. We have been encouraged by the increase in philanthropic conversations between clients and their advisors, and know that clients rely heavily on guidance for how their wealth can leave a positive long-term impact.

Here are three areas to consider as you approach these philanthropic conversations for the year ahead:

1. What is the reason your client is giving? Giving is personal, so you should understand what really drives your client or stirs their passions. Start by asking what they want, and then work out what they need. We have often found that advisors who approach these conversations in a meaningful way, focussing on personal goals and passions as well as the technical aspects of giving are more likely to satisfy their client’s needs. What matters most to them, short-term change or long-term legacy? Is there a personal link to one particular issue?

2. Does your client have a giving plan? Having helped your client set the objectives for their giving, you can next help them draw up a plan to achieve them. The first question is what the best philanthropic vehicle for them in terms of tax efficiency and administration? Is charitable trust or foundation necessary, or can they manage their giving through a donor-advised fund? Have they set a budget? Are they interested in impact investing? What assets can they leverage? Do they want to involve their family? Knowing these answers should provide a stable roadmap for your client to be successful in their giving.

3. Which charities should your client support and how best to support them? This is the most important element of your client’s philanthropic plan. There might be hundreds of charities working towards the same cause, so where will your client create the biggest bang with their buck? Do they want to have an impact within their own community or further afield? Is a charity’s size and track record important to them? Will your client achieve a greater impact and sense of personal satisfaction if they volunteer their time and knowledge to a charity, as well as money?

Giving can and should be a rewarding experience. That’s why being able to offer insightful advice to your clients is vital for the success of their donations and long-term giving goals.

For more information on how NPT UK can support your clients’ philanthropic journey, please contact us.


John Canady, CEO of National Philanthropic Trust UK, has 25 years of experience working across the business, nonprofit and government sectors. He specializes in creating and managing philanthropic funds for donors and family offices around the world who wish to base their philanthropy from the UK.


NPT UK does not provide legal or tax advice. This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be, and shall not be relied upon as, legal or tax advice. The applicability of information contained here may vary depending on individual circumstances.