March 2, 2021

Charity can be one of the financial goals of your clients.

Amit Trivedi
Owner, Karmayog Knowledge Academy

One of the earlier lessons a kid is taught in many schools is about “caring and sharing”. This is also a part of our heritage. A very common prayer “तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा” (tena tyakten bhunjitaha) talks about “giving up to gain.”

To many, this philosophy seems counter-intuitive. However, let us look at a few stories to elaborate on this concept. If we look at the Indian culture, going by the numbers, Indians do not seem to be “Givers”. According to the annual India Philanthropy Report 2012 brought out by Bain & Company Inc., as compared to the HNIs in the US, who pledge 9.1% of their income to charity, Indian HNIs pledge 3.1%. These numbers may indicate that the Indians may not be as charitable as their US counterparts, but a peep into the Indian culture may give a different picture.

Traditionally, many Indians believe in “Gupt daan” – charity that is kept secret so that the donor does not feel proud and the receiver does not feel ashamed. Well, in a way, that is a wonderful approach. On the other hand, it is also important to showcase the good work that one does. We have a habit of copying what the well-known and reputed people do. There have been instances of young kids trying to act like a celebrity and a whole section of advertising industry works on celebrity endorsement.

There is another way of looking at charity – it is giving back to the society. Giving back to the society is like contribution for the God’s cause – for the humanity’s cause or for the environment’s cause, e.g. “Save the trees”, “Save the birds”, etc. One has come across several businessmen, who allocate a part of their income for charity. This is akin to making God as your business partner – a certain percentage of total income or a part of the profit is kept for charitable causes. There is a selfish interest. If God is your business partner, He would ensure that His share grows and that automatically results in growth of your business.

“तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा” is a philosophy that requires supreme faith in the laws of the Universe. The basic law of the Universe asks one to put one’s duties ahead of one’s rights. The God says in Bhagwad Gita, “कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते” (Karmanyevadhikarastay – your jurisdiction is limited only to your karma) and “योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम्” (Yogakshemam Vahamyamam – it is the God’s duty to look after your well-being).

Donate generously and make the world a better place.

India is embracing this change. It is a good idea to give generously, but it is also important to showcase with humility.

As personal finance professionals, there is an unique role we can play in our clients’ lives when it comes to charitable giving. Be it inculcating the idea that nothing is too less when it comes to giving or opening the doors to the idea of philanthropy. The potential is limitless.

Some clients want charity to be part of their financial goals but they don’t know how to go about it. There are numerous ways in which you can set an example and guide them through to realize the bliss of giving back to the society.

Here are some things you could do:

1. Have a list of charities you support or you have verified as genuine and share them with your clients.

2. Support self-help groups and marginalized communities while undertaking client engagement and relation maintaining activities like Diwali sweets, birthday wishes, greeting cards, etc. Use he products sold by NGOs and self-help groups so that not only are you helping them directly but you are actually encouraging your clients to follow suit. This one-to-many scope of influence has tremendous power.

3. If you are into actual service in support of a cause, share your experience with your team members and clients. This may encourage them to join you.

Assist your clients in setting up charitable trusts in cases where it is preferred or necessary.

About Amit Trivedi – The author runs Karmayog Knowledge Academy, a training firm specializing in training investors, investment advisors and entrepreneurs.

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