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Pro bono work attracts appreciative clients

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Advisers do pro-bono work to give back, but one side benefit could be that those in the community are impressed and want to become clients.

But that can only happen if they know about a firm’s charitable work, so don’t be shy about publicizing it.

The advisers at Unified Trust in Lexington, Kentucky, often volunteer by speaking at events, presenting to small lunch groups or teaching basic financial principles to school-aged children, says John Deglow, a CFP and fiduciary investment adviser at the firm.

“We feel it’s our way of giving back to the community and helping where we can,” he says. “This industry has a lot to do with relationship-building and trust.”

Although the firm doesn’t always publicize its efforts, clients and others in the community certainly take notice of the firm’s activities, Deglow says.

“It’s our belief that the spirit of volunteerism is to always give back to the community, but it can also be a great foundation for building new relationships and increasing loyalty with existing clients,” he says.

Stakeholders Capital, with offices in both Amherst, Massachusetts, and Santa Monica, California, specializes in socially conscious wealth management, and so the firm and its advisers naturally support various non-profits, says Andrew Bellak, founder and chief executive.

For example, the firm facilitates gifts of securities for five non-profits.

“We probably don't publicize this enough, and we do a fair amount,” Bellak says. “It turns out that one time, not publicizing our philanthropy and volunteering enough was cited as a reason we didn't get selected to manage a non-profit endowment.”

Dean Catino, a CFP and the co-founder and president of Monument Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia, said that all the firm’s employees are encouraged to do pro-bono work, “but it is truly about giving back.”

“I am sure our current clients and prospects appreciate that we are charitably inclined, and I do recall some positive ‘side’ comments from clients and prospects. I have no direct info on any client that was drawn to us for this, but if it were to happen, it’s a positive benefit,” Catino says.

This story is part of a 30-30 series on strategies to boost your practice.

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