Tracy Gary gave a talk today to Dallas Womens Foundation and graciously asked me to say a few words on how best to work with advisors. What is fun about presenting with Tracy is that our perspectives are different. We disagree publicly in a way that shows our underlying commitment to each other's insights. We learn with and from each other on the fly in front of the audience.
Tracy says: "Advisors are good people; they share a hope for a better world; with a good bond with an advisor, sharing a philanthropic passion, you can do great things. Advisors want the same things we do for our community. They live here too."
Phil says: "Advisors will never kindle in most cases to your cause. Advisors are here to serve you, your family and your family's money. They are not here to serve society. However, it is your vision, your life and your money. If you want advisors to serve a vision larger than creating and preserving wealth, then you must lead. Rather than deferring to the advisor's process, go with a clear memo stating what you need and want for the engagement to be successful. You don't need to know the how of it all, but you need to be able to specificy where and when you want to have an impact on society, and what other nonphilanthropic goals must also be met. Then advisors can and will figure out the options and give you good choices. But don't count on their sharing your passion. Nor should you ask them to be soul-mates. You supply the vision and the money. They (we) just provide tools and techniques."
The audience got it. Tracy and I were not disagreeing with each other, just doing our duet. For some her approach is right, for others mine. The audience smiled at us; we smiled at each other, and then back at the audience. And yes, we (donor maven and and advisor) were soul-mates thereby disproving my theory.
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