How Charity Leadership Deepens Client Bonds

September 28, 2015

by Dan Richards

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Many advisors volunteer in their communities, quietly and anonymously as a matter of personal choice. But recent conversations with advisors show that over a period of time, letting clients know about your involvement with the right charity sends a hugely positive message that deepens bonds.

Here are some important lessons, whether you are thinking about supporting a charity or currently volunteering but not letting clients know about it.

Show don’t tell

For clients, the first and paramount considerations in working with an advisor are whether he or she is trustworthy, capable and a good communicator. Once clients are confident of those dimensions, however, other factors come into play. For many, these factors may include an advisor’s personality and values.

That’s why having pictures of your family in your office helps convey a sense of who you are beyond the advice that you provide. And that’s why letting clients know about your charitable activity will communicate your values to clients.

The question is how best to do this.

We’ve all heard the expression “actions speak louder than words.” When it comes to writing, Ernest Hemingway was a proponent of the “show, don’t tell” technique, which states that writers should engage readers by actions and feelings rather than by exposition. Here’s how Hemingway explained his “iceberg” theory of writing:

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.

In communicating your values to clients, the same principle applies; what works isn’t what you say but what you do. Here are four lessons from advisors who’ve let clients know about their commitments to good causes.

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How Charity Leadership Deepens Client Bonds