Director of Business Strategy
Senior Trust and Fiduciary Specialist, Philanthropic Services

Director of Business Strategy Chelle Gonzo and Senior Trust & Fiduciary Specialist Audrey Truman discuss the importance of a thoughtful giving strategy to maximize the impact of your charitable contributions.

Audio: Strategic Charitable Giving

Transcript: Strategic Charitable Giving

Chelle Gonzo, Director of Business Strategy, Wells Fargo Private Bank
Audrey Truman, Senior Trust & Fiduciary Specialist, Wells Fargo Private Bank

[Chelle]: Do you have a thoughtful strategy in place to guide your giving or do you find yourself responding to requests throughout the year? Ever wonder if there’s a way to have more impact with your gifts? I’m Chelle Gonzo, Director of Strategy for Wells Fargo Private Bank, and this is Your Financial Journey, a monthly podcast that explores common planning topics that families face. Today I am joined by Audrey Truman from Wells Fargo’s philanthropic team. Welcome, Audrey. What kinds of questions do you get from clients?

[Audrey]: Well, the biggest question is the one you alluded to earlier: Am I making an impact with my giving? I find that many families can benefit from being a bit more strategic with their giving.

[Chelle]: That definitely resonates for me personally. My intentions are always good, but I tend to be more reactive, not proactive, in how I give. If I want to change that, what should I be doing?

[Audrey]: Well, you start by clearly defining the issues or causes your family really cares about. Are you passionate about the arts, your faith, supporting underprivileged families, or something else? Make time to sit down with your family, have a conversation, and capture your intentions on paper. Then compare that to the giving you actually did. You’ll probably quickly identify a few key changes you’d like to make; maybe focusing your giving on fewer organizations so you make a more meaningful impact, for example. This type of conversation with your family also allows you to share with each other your personal values and possibly some family stories that have driven those values. Connecting in this way with your family is really another positive aspect of philanthropy.

[Chelle]: That is really appealing. Is there a particular framework for that conversation or is that more of a freeform discussion?

[Audrey]: Well, either way works, but sometimes a facilitator can really help. Our philanthropic specialists lead hundreds of these conversations a year for clients. We help families develop a giving mission and then outline how they can start taking action. That could be as simple as coordinating outright gifts or it may involve comparing more structured options, like setting up a donor advised fund, a charitable trust, or a family foundation. 

[Chelle]: I definitely like the idea of having someone guide my family through the process. But, it does sound like there are a lot of options, which makes me, think it could take a lot of time and money to get in place. Is that true?

[Audrey]: There are a lot of options, but they don’t all require a lot of time or money. We help families compare the benefits based on their charitable goals, and also show them how different strategies impact their cash flows, their tax savings, and their time commitment. There are options that provide immediate tax deductions, allow you to continue receiving income from your portfolio, and offer flexibility—and control to your family. 

[Chelle]: That really piqued my interest. So who do I call if I’m interested in talking more about my options?

[Audrey]: Contact your Wells Fargo relationship manager who will introduce you to a philanthropic specialist. We have experienced professionals across the country who would love to show you how a charitable giving plan might work and the potential benefits involved – both for you, your family, and for the causes you care about. 

[Chelle]: Well, Audrey, that’s some great food for thought and I want to thank you for joining us. And thank you to our listeners for joining this podcast. This is Your Financial Journey.