This week our local council of National Committee on Planned Giving had a panel of advisors talking about working with donors and nonprofits. Each of the three panelists (two JDs, and one investment advisor) are leaders in their fields; each has steered many gifts to nonprofits, particularly our community foundations. I asked the distinguished panel of advisors (who average 25 years in the field) how often they get referrals from fund-raisers. The answer, essentially, was never. Now, this is a clear dysfunction. The fund-raisers must see the advisors as gatekeepers or as somehow irrelevant to the giving process. But in reality no donor is going to commit big dollars without consulting advisors. When that happens offstage, the fund-raiser loses control. Why not, rather than "making the ask," raise the advisor question instead? Ask if the donor has a team of advisors who are sympathetic to giving and knowledgeable about it. Probe a little. Maybe you can suggest lunch with the key advisor, or maybe you can introduce an advisor to the team who is both expert in his or her field and also a friend of philanthropy. I have endlessly listened to nonprofits about how we advisors should "Ask the Philanthropic question." Fine. How often do you as a fund-raiser ask "The Advisor question?" Doing the right thing for the donor is a team effort. Get on the team!