Helping Clients Organize Their Giving With A Donor-Advised Fund

Amy Jordan |

Your clients will arrive in 15 minutes. You’re reviewing the file. Everything is in order. The estate planning documents are up to date, you’re ready to share the latest investment results, and you are prepared to debrief the tax season and make tax planning recommendations for the remainder of this year. It sounds typical up to this point, right?

As you continue to review materials, you see the names of several charitable organizations that your clients have supported every year for at least a decade. This is an opportunity to add even more value to your clients. Charitable giving patterns are actually an important window into helping a client make planning decisions around their philanthropic intentions.

Here’s a simple guide for a client conversation to begin establishing a charitable giving plan using a donor-advised fund at the Hudson Community Foundation.

  • Call your clients’ attention to their charitable giving history. They might not even be aware of how much they are giving or how long they’ve been supporting their favorite charities.
  • Gather more information about why the clients support those particular causes. Family tradition? Desire to impact a particular area of need?
  • Talk with your clients about their community involvement. Do they volunteer at local organizations?
  • Review any charitable giving provisions in the current will or trust. Are the clients leaving a bequest to favorite charities?  
  • Ask your clients if they’ve ever considered organizing their giving through a donor-advised fund. If they are not familiar with donor-advised funds, perhaps offer a quick primer, and certainly offer to introduce the client to a member of the Hudson Community Foundation team.
  • Briefly mention that a donor-advised fund can be an effective alternative to a private foundation, thanks to fewer expenses to establish and maintain, maximum tax benefits (higher AGI limitations and fair market valuation for contributing hard-to-value assets), no excise taxes, and confidentiality (including the ability to grant anonymously to charities).
  • Also mention that a donor-advised fund at the Hudson Community Foundation (HCF) is frequently a more effective choice than a donor-advised fund offered through a brokerage firm (such as Fidelity or Schwab). That’s because, at HCF, the donor is part of a community of giving and has opportunities to collaborate with other donors who share similar interests. In addition, the donor is supported in strategic grant making, family philanthropy, and opportunities to gain deep knowledge about local issues and nonprofits making a difference.  Also, the standard administrative fees stay local to support the community foundation rather than through a commercial sponsor.

With a fund at HCF, advisors can manage the charitable assets on your preferred platform at any amount. Assets stay under your management. You can provide your clients with the consistent investment advice they expect.  We are your partner in charitable giving!


The team at HCF is a resource as you serve your philanthropic clients. We understand the charitable side and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients. This blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.