If you and your clients want to add stress to what should be a rewarding, gratifying, fulfilling and even joyous experience, then do not talk with your clients now about their charitable giving plans for the remainder of the year. 

Instead, wait for them to contact you at the end of December at which point you can hear about what tax-inefficent donations they intend to make or have already made, which stocks or mutual funds they want to think about donating at the last minute, which other assets outside of your control that they decide they no longer want but ask if they could be donated to charity, which charitable vehicles they would like to set up but may not be able to given the late notice, which new causes or charities they may decide they may want to support but first want to research and vet, which family members they may want to get involved in their charitable giving decisions, and how much they assume would be the right amount that they should donate to charity by year-end.

If, however, you want to be able to enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends instead of working late each night leading up to December 31, if you want to enable your clients to experience the satisfaction and pride that they should because of their generous donations, and if you want your clients to appreciate how you have helped them in ways they could not have imagined previously, then for everyone’s sake, please initiate the charitable discussion now.

Clients will appreciate your call now, as they know that they will soon have to plan if they have not begun to do so. Often they are aware that they can be more effective and efficient donors, but because they wait until the end of the year, they may just repeat what they did the previous years. They are usually passionate about different causes or organizations and want to support them, but because the charities simply ask them for checks or credit cards, that is what the donors give them. 

You can be a hero and further deepen these client relationships by making just a few (or more!) simple (or more complex!) suggestions that will enable them to be more generous with their contributions or enable them to keep more money themselves. If you are talking with prospective clients now as they begin to think about making year-end donations, you can differentiate yourself from other advisors by discussing the topic.