Background: In most of our communities, many organizations reach out to local businesses to support their not-for-profit efforts. Most, if not all, are a good cause but it’s difficult for an organization to decide which efforts to get behind. There is, of course, only so much a small business can do to keep the community moving forward.
Our Case: To get a handle on what cause to support, we looked at the model that our broker dealer, ValMark Securities took. Why not ask the people who are important to us (our clients) to help us guide the funds to those organizations that are important to them? Teaming up with people who are passionate and involved with their time and or money can make the support even more effective.
The Question: How do we implement a process to more effectively support the non-profits in the community in which we do business? Is there a way to make every gift, regardless of size, as effective as possible in terms of impact to the charity and community?
The Results: We initiated this process at our annual Holiday party in Wisconsin. We asked people to write down a grant request for a charity that they support. Our goal was to get two or three requests and then award that charity some funds we have set aside for charitable purposes. We have a Charitable Fund or a Donor Advised Fund set up in which we contribute 10% of our revenues from significant cases over the year. These funds can be directed to any legitimate non-profit organization. To our surprise, nearly everyone in attendance filled out a grant request and detailed their reasons for supporting that cause. We asked our clients a few questions on whether they would match our gift and what level of involvement they have with the charity. The difficult part was selecting which organization should receive the grant, as all the stories were inspiring to us. In the end we selected three organizations to receive our funds, two of which we hadn’t known about prior to the grant requests. Our clients who requested the grants all agreed to match our gift, essentially doubling the effectiveness of our efforts.
Bottom Line: At the end of the party each person was moved by the stories of these charities. Many non-profit organizations do good work getting the word out about their mission; supporting them with human and financial resources impacts people’s lives. Our program and direction will maximize our financial resources and impact because we teamed up with those who care most. A card we received from one of our clients sitting with a group of orphans in a country devastated by earthquakes and poverty was all we needed to realize we are on the right track.
This is a hypothetical example for illustrative purposes only. The experience of this client may not be representative of the experience of all clients and is not indicative of future results. Any tax advice contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended for public dissemination. Further, you should seek specific tax advice from your tax professional before pursuing any idea contemplated herein. This advice is being provided solely as an incidental service to our business as financial planner. Securities offered through ValMark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Planning and Investment Advisory Services offered through B & E Investment Advisers, Inc. Business & Estate Advisers, Inc. and B & E Investment Advisers, Inc. are separate entities from ValMark Securities.