Long Read  

IFAs need tools to give good philanthropic advice

Many charities communicate their impact poorly.  And all the while the desire from donors for instant answers is compounding their disappointment.  

The solution is for advisers to give their clients simple, practical tools to make their own thoughtful and effective giving decisions. 

This is the best way to ensure donor satisfaction and a grateful client to boot. 

Indeed, brain-imaging technology shows that the midbrain lights up when people donate to charity, the same area of the brain linked to cravings and pleasure rewards. 

When the gift is spontaneous or ad hoc, this ‘warm glow’ dissipates after about two hours. However, when donors spend even a little time planning their giving, satisfaction levels improve by almost 50 per cent.

Boosting education

Some financial advisers currently offer their clients access to virtual financial literacy courses, which require no staff time to run and are inexpensive to produce.

A similar virtual donor education course that is both informational and emotionally engaging, practical and specific, providing both concrete case studies and personalised guidance, could generate outsized returns in client satisfaction. 

In the US, my extensive research on small and mid-size donor behaviour highlighted the crucial role of personal recommendations, so who better than a trusted financial adviser to recommend an investment in donor education? 

But dozens of conversations with advisers also revealed their time and budget constraints.  

My mission moving forwards is to educate financial advisers in the UK and beyond about the important role that they can play in unlocking the philanthropic potential of their clients.

I have seen how taking a strategic approach to giving can make a real difference to the amount that charities receive, and the quality of service delivered.

Sylvia Brown is founder of Sylvia Brown Smart Donors