Paula Feinberg, a Dallas-based financial advisor with Raymond James & Associates who manages more than $70 million in assets, recently invited a client to participate in a golf tournament to raise money for a local hospital that is one of the advisor's favorite charities.
Feinberg says that inviting clients to join her in giving time and money, while doing something fun, "has a lot of ripple effects." Such events "deepen the bond," Feinberg says, even with "a client you thought you knew well.
"It helps you share stories that resonate with them, and the energy around the event opens up the conservations," she adds.
Feinberg doesn't limit herself to golf. Each year, she purchases a table for a charitable gala held by a nonprofit that provides micro-loans "to the poorest of the poor women in Latin America," says Feinberg, and then invites a few clients to dine with her.
Those galas have helped multiple clients launch charitable giving plans, Feinberg says, adding that clients have told her, "I wouldn't have been comfortable giving if you hadn't shown me." Another client remarked that she didn't know she could start with a smaller gift; a third commented that Feinberg had shown her "a way to help women that really works."
KEEP GROUPS SMALL
Feinberg recommends inviting just a few clients at a time to a philanthropic gathering. Big numbers don't allow for the intimacy that develops when she and just a few other clients attend a charitable event.
Being involved in philanthropy has also helped Feinberg cultivate new clients. One woman who is now one of her wealthiest clients, Feinberg says, "knew I was generously involved in this philanthropic group and that really did take it to the next level.
"The trust comes because you are speaking your truth. When you dialog about your giving, you are talking about values," she adds. "You find real similarities and people begin thinking, 'With those values, she can manage my finances.'"
Kristine Hartland, the president of Peace Wealth Management in Largo, Fla., with about $90 million in assets, also likes to bond with clients over charitable pursuits -- but she prefers to support clients' charities rather than involve them in her favored causes.
She regularly schedules sessions with clients during which she asks clients what they are passionate about. No matter the answer, Hartland makes a concerted effort to find ways that she can help contribute to their causes. One popular response has been the offering of a "Peace" basket for clients' chosen charities' auctions -- including chocolates, a coupon for a spa visit and, of course, a credit for a free financial planning session.
Miriam Rozen, a Financial Planning contributing writer, is a staff reporter at Texas Lawyer in Dallas.