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Many business owners don’t allocate the time or financial resources to undertake local community outreach and charitable projects. Here are some of the reasons that a corporate-wide program to support local projects and nonprofits should be considered a priority in your business plan.

    1. You’ve been blessed and rewarded. Just by being born, living or operating in the United States, you have untold advantages in life and education that others don’t have. Let’s preserve all that is good about this country for future generations. It won’t happen only by government programs.
    2. You are financially successful and have “enough.” OK, even if you don’t really have “enough” and are still motivated to build more, expand and grow your net worth, you may reach a point where can say, “We’ve done well and are in good shape financially”, especially if you create a financial plan with projected assets and income.
    3. I can’t promise this to all readers, but I’ve found that as I’ve made charitable gifts and gotten involved, good things happened to my business—and my finances. I think there is a correlation between generosity and good results. I can’t guarantee it, but take a leap of faith and try it. Don’t give to receive, but give because you want to, and remember that giving your time is just as important as your resources.
    4. Today’s customers and future employees are looking for companies with a conscience. Many companies donate products based on sales multiples (Toms shoes, for example). Some companies will match employees’ charitable donations. Other companies support company-wide days out of the office to volunteer to help those in need. If your firm does these projects, include it on your website so that interested customers and parties know more about your culture as they evaluate you. People usually don’t change jobs for an extra $100 a pay period but rather for a better work culture and environment.
    5. Name recognition. By being visible in the community, you are planting the seeds for future growth. It’s another form of low-cost advertising, as reaching your prospects is always a challenging task. Focus on projects that you not only enjoy but that could bring you in contact with future customers. I volunteer at CNU’s student-run investment endowment fund. Any graduate looking to enter our industry would use us as a sounding board for career advice.
    6. And finally—the tax benefits, which are worthy of a future article about how charitable planning provides income and estate tax advantages.To continue this discussion, Don Hannahs can be reached at dhannahs@psgplanning.com

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Don is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and has been in the advisory business since 1987. He is a founding partner of Planning Solutions Group, which was formed in 2001. Planning Solutions Group is a leader in family wealth management comprised of 30 employees and over 1,500 clients with offices in Maryland and Virginia Beach. Don’s practice focuses in the areas of wealth management, business continuity planning, fringe benefit design, and estate planning.

Don is a frequent speaker/educator who empowers high net worth business owners. He provides educational workshops and seminars throughout the nation at Colleges, Universities, Clubs, and Associations including Christopher Newport University, Montgomery College, and Johns Hopkins University. He has been a featured speaker for many trade associations including, the DC Bar, Associated Builders & Contractors, Johns Hopkins University-Physicians, Maryland Dental Association, Intermodal Association, National Electrical Contractors Association, Printing & Graphics Association, Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals, and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, and Northeast Equipment Dealers Association. Don is a regular instructor at the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Academy helping dealer candidates and family businesses transition to the next generation. He has been a guest on CNNFN’s TV show for Entrepreneurs Only, as well as a radio guest on WTOP, WEAA, WPGC and on WBAL Radio’s Ron Smith Show.

Don sits on the Board of Hampton Roads Financial Planning Association. He volunteers for the “500 Financially Fit Families Program” in Virginia Beach helping mentor citizens on budgeting and paying off debt. He formerly sat on the Board of Directors for the Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center and is a former Board Member of the Easter Seals Foundation of Central Maryland. Don is also the past president of the board of trustees at his church. Don has been recognized as a Five Star Wealth Manager for two consecutive years.