Bank targets charity

Wachovia expands charitable services, promotes planned giving.

[01.16.04] — WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wachovia has retooled and expanded its charitable services to better attract and serve institutional clients and individual donors, and promote and manage planned giving.

The Charlotte-based bank, which manages $12 billion in charitable assets, including nearly $1.5 billion in planned gifts, also aims to develop “emerging” philanthropists, including blacks, women, and gays and lesbians.

Ranked third among financial institutions in the United States based on total charitable assets it manages, Wachovia employs 150 professionals in its charitable services unit.

That unit, which is based in Winston-Salem and operates under Wachovia’s wealth-management business, has reorganized itself into two groups that work together and focus, respectively, on prospects and clients.

Its new philanthropic advisory services group acts as a technical resource to help prospective nonprofit, foundation and individual clients think through their charitable goals and needs.

A second new group, the center for planned giving, provides nonprofit and foundation clients with services ranging from investment planning, technical support and training to investment and gift management.

With a staff of accountants, lawyers and trust officers, the center also can work with clients’ donors.

And both units together have created a “think tank” that conducts research, publishes papers and holds workshops and seminars on planned giving and individual philanthropy.

“They have the ability to take intellectual capital and best practices and share it” throughout the 11 states the bank serves, says Eileen Wilhem, managing executive for Wachovia Charitable Services.

Whether for prospective or existing clients, Wachovia provides charitable services through charitable advisers who are part of “wealth teams.”

Coordinating each team is a “relationship manager” who can connect clients with advisers specializing in services ranging from charity, insurance and financial planning to loans, mortgages, investing and personal trust services.

In addition to helping a nonprofit or foundation develop an investment policy, set asset-allocation goals and build an investment portfolio for its endowment, for example, Wachovia also can help the client design a planned giving program, prepare marketing materials, identify and work with prospective donors, and function as the endowment’s back office.

“These institutions are entrusting to our service and attention their bread and butter, which is their donor,” says Sandra Shell, Wachovia’s national director of philanthropic giving.

A client’s charitable adviser also might involve other advisers to help the nonprofit or foundation with needs ranging from construction loans to pension plans.

In addition to serving clients, Wachovia’s center for planned giving also studies and promotes planned giving and individual philanthropy.

It recently held a “boot camp” for national planned giving professionals, for example, sponsored a seminar in North Carolina for higher-education development officers, and published a paper on the importance of focusing on the “low net worth donors,” or individuals with less than $1 million in assets.

And this month, it is sponsoring a two-day conference in New York City on nonprofit governance.

Wachovia also is focusing on population groups with a growing interest in philanthropy, Wilhem says.

A new client, for example, is the NAACP, which is launching a planned giving program and also helping Wachovia better understand black philanthropy.

And in November, Wachovia held its first estate-planning seminar for same-sex partners, focusing on strategies such as charitable remainder trusts that can generate income for surviving partners who otherwise might not receive survivor benefits.

“We’re focused on the right segments,” Wilhem says, “for the growth of our communities.”

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