Advisor Talk: Three Ways to Start Generosity Conversations with Your Clients

By Charlie Jordan, Partner and Wealth Advisor at Brightworth

Giving is good for you.

Yes, I am talking about the benefits of giving that are often championed: reduction in tax burden, ability to support a worthy cause, connection to community, etc.  But I really mean that giving is good for ALL of you: body, mind and soul. And, as an advisor, you are in a unique and incredibly influential position in your client’s lives to help them reap those benefits.

When we are generous, or even witness generosity, several changes take place in us.  Our amygdala, the little almond-shaped part of our brain that controls our fight or flight response (aka anxiety), takes a break. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is also reduced. Couple these reductions with increases in oxytocin (natural high), serotonin (relaxation) and dopamine (motivation/drive), giving has been proven to have incredibly positive effects on the giver’s physical being.

In most religions and cultures, nourishment of one’s soul is often related to caring for or doing good for others.  There is something about helping and giving, especially to those less fortunate, that renews us and inspires us to be better. “It is better to give than to receive” is a statement that doesn’t logically fit most of our way of life, yet we inherently know it to be true.

Even if you are not comfortable yet with discussing generosity with your clients, they want you to lead in this area.  According to the 2018 U.S. Trust Study of the Philanthropic Conversation, 40 percent (up from 31 percent in 2013) of high net worth individuals indicate that they would be more likely to choose advisors who are knowledgeable about charitable giving. Yet, according to these same individuals, their advisors initiated that discussion only 18 percent of the time. In the same study less than half of clients (45 percent) were fully satisfied with the philanthropic conversations they have with their advisors.

Wondering how to start generosity conversations with your clients? Here are three easy ways.

  1. Make a personal connection. Tell stories about your own personal giving, your board involvement and any events or discussions you have been a part of. Clients want to hear about what is important to you and 53 percent of clients in the above study said they would place greater value on your philanthropic advice if they were aware of your personal engagement.
  2. Ask questions about your clients’ giving. Ask about their historical experiences, their philosophy, how they feel about their current giving.  Have them tell you stories about how they learned to give and who their influences were.  Lean into conversations around their personal values and how that influences their giving.
  3. Get strategic. This is where the structure, timing, tax impact and estate planning come into play. Traditionally, advisors are most comfortable in this space. But, don’t skip the hard work on understanding WHY your clients give before you get here.  Eventually, this is where the rubber meets the road from matching philosophy with action.

When you help your clients realize their philanthropy goals, you not only help them help others, you also positively impact their own lives!

Interested in learning more about our Professional Advisors Network and how it can help you? Contact Randy Redner at 770.813.3384 or

Charlie is a Partner and Wealth Advisor at Brightworth providing comprehensive investment and wealth planning advice to high net worth individuals and families. He focuses on integrating wealth planning, tax and estate planning, investment management and philanthropic counsel into a customized strategy to help clients accomplish their life and financial goals. 

He currently serves on the boards of the Georgia Planned Giving Council and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes East Cobb and is a founding member of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Legacy Advisory Council.

Charlie and his wife, Krysta, have three daughters and reside in Marietta. They are active members of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. Charlie enjoys golf, running and Florida Gator sports.



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