Good idea?

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Shark's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-07

I'm brand new, so if this sounds stupid, no offense taken. I started a successful charity about 5 yrs ago that donates money to a children's hospital in town. There are about 300 women, all in my target market, who are involved in this organization. What if I offer to donate $50 to the charity for every woman who sits down for a free evaluation of her family's finances and cap it to the first 20.  I figure this could cost me $1000, but in my head, I was planning to donate that amount anyway.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Since you started the charity and the women are involved, it would reason that they probably know you.  Why bribe the women to meet with you?  Just pick up the phone and ask for the appointment.

Shark's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-07

Women like to feel like they are contributing to the cause. That's why we drag our families to awful chain restaurants during a snowstorm because they are donating 10% of every meal to the PTA, etc..We're programmed to do good. Can't hurt my image.

snaggletooth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-13

Shark wrote:Women like to feel like they are contributing to the cause. That's why we drag our families to awful chain restaurants during a snowstorm because they are donating 10% of every meal to the PTA, etc..We're programmed to do good. Can't hurt my image.
 
I'm so confused by this statement.  Did it have anything to do with your original post or Anon's reply? 
 
Nice to know what you do during snowstorms though...

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

Shark wrote:Women like to feel like they are contributing to the cause. That's why we drag our families to awful chain restaurants during a snowstorm because they are donating 10% of every meal to the PTA, etc..We're programmed to do good. Can't hurt my image.On the contrary, numerous studies have been done on this.  Altruism is pretty much a fallacy.  Witness the games of Dominator and Ultimatum, which have shown that given ideal situations, we aren't altruistic.What is interesting, is that both men and women are similar in this regard.

Shark's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-07

Snag, sorry to confuse you. It was in response to Anon. I want the women to grab their husbands by the shoulders, shake them, and say "we must get our finances analyzed by Shark. she'll donate $50 to our favorite charity if we do" She may not have previously cared about the finances, but now I've given her a reason to be my advocate in addition to "she's my smart friend". It lends a sense of urgency to the appointment. I think it was confusing because I didn't tie the stupid dinner that raises $4 per family with my idea - ie- we've jumped through hoops for less, all in the name of charity.

rsinvestor's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-21

BioFreeze wrote: Half my family is Jewish. Many of those who came to my wedding gave, as wedding gifts, donations to charity in my name. They got the tax deduction, the charities got the money, and I got a card. 

lol, I hope it was a nice card. Seriously, that smarts.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Shark wrote:Snag, sorry to confuse you. It was in response to Anon. I want the women to grab their husbands by the shoulders, shake them, and say "we must get our finances analyzed by Shark. she'll donate $50 to our favorite charity if we do" She may not have previously cared about the finances, but now I've given her a reason to be my advocate in addition to "she's my smart friend". It lends a sense of urgency to the appointment. I think it was confusing because I didn't tie the stupid dinner that raises $4 per family with my idea - ie- we've jumped through hoops for less, all in the name of charity.
 
It's more likely to get you to come across as someone who is struggling and can't get clients on her own.

SometimesNowhere's picture
Joined: 2008-12-22

My B/D wouldn't allow me to donate a college fund opened in the name of the first baby of the year last year. Not the same thing, and my firm is more conservative than most (vast understatement) but I think you may have a hard time.
 
Aside from the compliance aspect, I think it sounds a bit sleezy. Like anon said, if you know them, just call and ask for the appointment. I think your more likely to get resentment from people doing something like that rather than good will. While I know it isn't your intention, it sounds like you are trying to leverage charity money, which is just creepy.

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

Shark wrote:I'm brand new, so if this sounds stupid, no offense taken. I started a successful charity about 5 yrs ago that donates money to a children's hospital in town. There are about 300 women, all in my target market, who are involved in this organization. What if I offer to donate $50 to the charity for every woman who sits down for a free evaluation of her family's finances and cap it to the first 20.  I figure this could cost me $1000, but in my head, I was planning to donate that amount anyway.
 
I personally don't like it.  Nothing wrong with a donation.  But I would come up with something else, not tied to anyone being required to go through a financial review.  You're basically buying appointments with people directly.  You are asking them to do something they might like to do (donate) in exchange for something very undesirable (meet with a financial planner).  I think that starts off on the wrong foot.

Shark's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-07

Ok - bad idea - just trying to be creative.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

By the way, Shark, if someone approached me in this manner, 2 thoughts would immediately pop up in my head.
1) Shark is sleazy.  She will only make a donation if there might be benefit to her.  If I don't meet with her, she won't donate.
 
Or...
 
2) Shark is sleazy.   She's planning on making a donation to her charity, but she wants to find a way to get business for doing something that she otherwise would be doing.
 
In your case, we know that is #2.  Do you believe that it is ethical to tell 20 people that you will make a $50 donation if they meet with you knowing that you are planning to make that donation regardless?  If the idea doesn't work, does that mean that you won't donate to your charity?
 
Much of what we do is about perception.  I'm missing how any positive perception can come from this.
 
Look at what you have going for you.  You started a successful charity.  You did this out of the goodness of your heart.  These women are involved.  They already think highly of you.  Because of that, many of them will meet with you simply because you ask.  As soon as you start tying your business in with the charity that you started, you lose the goodwill because it will appear as if your motives are personal financial gain instead of doing good.
 
(I'm not giving you a guess on this stuff.  I have personal experience.)

Wet_Blanket's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-13

I realized that this has already been ruled a bad idea by the crowd and the original poster, but why not beat a dead horse (this can also be applied to a related topic that was discussed at a recent Compliance Conference I attended (by the way, you haven't LIVED until you attending one of these).
 
So the facts are that: 1) You run a charity. 2) You want to get appointments with the promise to donate to this charity.  Compliance will reject this due to the obvious conflict of interest (let me know if the two facts are not correct.
 
While this is on the front of your brain, make sure you filled out an OBA for this charity (even if you don't make money from it). 
 
BTW, at the conference we had a competition for "Weirdest OBA Ever Reviewed."

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

I used to play the OBA in the high school band.
 
(WTF is an OBA??)

Wet_Blanket's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-13

Some FA submitted one to his firm when he was in the final auditions of Survivor.
 
On the not fun side, whenever a FA writes a book or teaches a course, compliance has to review.  So I met a couple compliance guys/girls that practically have doctorates in Finance from the amount of course material they've reviewed.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

These woman may know you as a mover and shaker in local charity and community events. However, as an FC you are wearing a different skirt. At this early time in your career, just out of the starting gate, you run the risk of ruining your cred with these folks.
 
Believe me when I tell you this: You don't want to be a rookie pilot's first passenger,  and as a newly minted rookie FC, none of your friends or former business associates wants to hear from you. If you don't believe this, at the next PTA meeting ask the group by a show of hands who would like a rookie investing their money for them? I doubt you'll get many hands in the air.
 
The charity group is a very strong affinity group for you. Just be careful when and how you approach this group.
 
As well, working your connections out of the gate can backfire on you. You learn to rely on the networking to open the referral door. As the pool dries up, and it will, the prospect pipeline runs dry. Because you relied so heavily on it to provide leads, and because it produced in the beginning, you will not have developed the prospecting skills to provide a steady stream of prospects coming through the front door. I've seen many rookies fall into this trap. Bottom line: unless you are connected to a consistant source of wealthy prospects, the head of a large law firm for example, the connection route is a dead end for rookies.
 

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

A way to approach this group would be to sponsor a charity event using your new professional identity as the sponsor. You are there meeting and greeting. No biz talk. Maybe some handouts. Others on the board have used this approach successfully.
 
 

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

BondGuy wrote:These woman may know you as a mover and shaker in local charity and community events. However, as an FC you are wearing a different skirt. At this early time in your career, just out of the starting gate, you run the risk of ruining your cred with these folks.
 
Believe me when I tell you this: You don't want to be a rookie pilot's first passenger,  and as a newly minted rookie FC, none of your friends or former business associates wants to hear from you. If you don't believe this, at the next PTA meeting ask the group by a show of hands who would like a rookie investing their money for them? I doubt you'll get many hands in the air.
 
The charity group is a very strong affinity group for you. Just be careful when and how you approach this group.
 
As well, working your connections out of the gate can backfire on you. You learn to rely on the networking to open the referral door. As the pool dries up, and it will, the prospect pipeline runs dry. Because you relied so heavily on it to provide leads, and because it produced in the beginning, you will not have developed the prospecting skills to provide a steady stream of prospects coming through the front door. I've seen many rookies fall into this trap. Bottom line: unless you are connected to a consistant source of wealthy prospects, the head of a large law firm for example, the connection route is a dead end for rookies.
 
 
I agree with BG here if one is primarily an asset gatherer.  I disagree if insurance plays a big role in one's practice.

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

I'm thinking there would be a compliance issue beyond just being cheesy.

snaggletooth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-13

Gaddock wrote:I'm thinking there would be a compliance issue beyond just being cheesy.
 
Yeah, I tried to create a Powerball and Mega Millions fund with pooled clients money...compliance didn't go for it.  I thought the risk/reward was justified.  Just joking.

Pokerguy's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-23

Compliance will freakout about this. Better to pick a charity that you have passion for and get involved. Network with people who have the same passions as you. Talk with the director about starting a comitty to reach out to people +/- 5 years of your age.  Giving $ is only going to get you into trouble down the road.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-14

I agree that it seems kind of shady to offer a $50 donation to YOUR charity for exchange of a financial review/plan.Would "waving" the financial planning fee if the client donated that fee to the charity of THEIR choice be an option?

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