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Jean Greening: Inspiring everyday generosity for greater impact

Friday, February 26, 2021 - 17:30

When Jean Greening tells her clients to “give until it hurts,” she uses her own story to set the stage.

Several years ago, her church asked Jean to make a stretch gift on their building project, but she was hesitant. “It was an ‘aha’ moment for me,” Jean recalls. “If I gave an easy gift, would it even make a difference? Giving more helps you grow.”

To inspire her clients, she asks them, If I can do it, how can you do it? “Money is truly just a tool that allows you to do good for your family, your charities, and communities,” Jean says. “I talk about the advantages of being charitable and the majority of my clients want to hear more.”

“Clients I started working with in their 40s are now in their 70s, and they know there is something bigger than themselves," she says. “I believe people want to give, they just don’t know how, and that’s where generosity planning comes in.”

Virtual client visits
One way that Jean builds upon her charitable conversations with clients is by participating in visits with Thrivent's donor services team. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has adjusted to virtual meetings to accommodate for financial professionals and their clients.

Together, the team of experts provide support to FPs and their clients who would like to review their existing charitable plans, as well as those who may be interested in formalizing their giving by creating a donor-advised fund.

“Coronavirus has changed my perspective on Zoom meetings,” Jean says. “Clients love that they can sit in the comfort of their own home, and having the donor services team on the call backs up what I’ve talked about with them.”

She says her clients appreciate that there is no minimum gift to establish a donor-advised fund and that the fund is professionally managed for potential growth. “It’s all about making everyday people more aware of what they can accomplish with a little planning,” she says.

She tells of uncovering a $30,000 CD on a bank statement while meeting with a new widow. The client confided, “I hope I never need that money because I want to leave it to my church when I die.” Jean showed her how using a life insurance contract could nearly double the impact of that gift. The woman had assumed she was too old in her 70s for life insurance.

“A donor-advised fund gives clients control and helps families create the next generation of givers,” she says. One family awards scholarships from a fund their deceased parents established years ago. “It makes that family feel important in the community, and word spreads, referrals come,” Jean notes.