See below for tools and resources to support the efforts of financial advisors seeking to provide pro bono financial planning to underserved members of the community. Get started with the pro bono financial planning training here!
How to Start a Pro Bono Financial Planning Program: CFP® professionals meet rigorous education, training, and ethical standards and are committed to serving their clients’ best interests to prepare them for secure financial futures. Their expert assistance can help empower pro bono clients, helping them prioritize and manage debt, save for emergencies, create and follow a budget, navigate employee and government benefits, and much more. This webinar explores how nonprofit organizations, CFP® professionals, and FPA® chapters can start pro bono financial planning and guidance programs to bring much-needed expert advice to underserved members of their communities.
Using Financial Counseling Skills to Better Serve Pro Bono Clients: A CFP® professional can advise clients on complex financial matters such as financial planning, taxes, and retirement while an advisor with an AFC® designation focuses more on assisting clients with everyday financial challenges and spending habits. This webinar will explore the ways in which AFC-centric skills can complement the CFP® designation, especially in pro bono financial planning, where the advisor is serving low- and moderate- income clients.
Using Financial Empathy to Help All Clients Achieve Financial Well-being and Empowerment: Race, ethnicity, and gender play a significant role in how consumers interact with the financial services industry. This webinar explores financial well-being across a diverse set of identity groups and discusses the how financial planners can use financial empathy to empower individuals to improve their well-being. The webinar deck is available here.
Pro Bono Financial Planning During the COVID-19 Crisis: What Advisors and Clients Need to Know provides advisors with information relevant to pro bono service during COVID-19, including: an overview of the stimulus package; discussion of legislative provisions such as unemployment insurance, rent/mortgage, retirement accounts, taxes, and more; and additional resources for pro bono advisors and their clients.
Public Benefits & Other Social Services: What Pro Bono Advisors Need to Know provides a comprehensive overview of public benefits and social services, including: detailed explanations of entitlement and welfare programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance and SNAP, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. The webinar deck is available here.
ProBonoPlannerMatch.Org helps bring free, quality financial advice and planning to people in need by matching CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals with volunteer opportunities nationwide.
CFP®’s can register here and browse opportunities to volunteer. Nonprofits can register here to connect with CFP® volunteers who want to provide free, no-strings-attached financial planning and advice to underserved populations. Check out 7 steps Nonprofits Can Use to Get Started to learn more.
The Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is a free, one-hour online module that helps financial planners understand the basics of how to provide pro bono service to underserved members of the community. The Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is approved for one hour of continuing education (CE) credit by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board). After viewing the training in its entirety, volunteers must take and pass a self-assessment to receive their CE credit. *A version of the Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training specially geared to FPA members is also available on FPA’s site here.
Since October 1st, 2020, FFP has provided Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance to pro bono financial planners. As long as you qualify, you are automatically covered by this policy at no cost to you!
To qualify for the FFP coverage, you must:
- Be a Certified Financial Planner in good standing with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards; and
- Have successfully completed the “Pro Bono Volunteer Training” offered by FFP.
FFP’s policy will only cover claims that arise from your pro bono advisory services delivered:
- through a nonprofit organization that has received a grant from FFP; or
- through a nonprofit organization you connected with via FFP’s Pro Bono Planner Match, our digital platform for matching CFP volunteers with FFP-approved nonprofits.
For more information, click here.
- Sample Confidential Questionnaire: This questionnaire can be filled out by the client in preparation for a one-on-one session. Volunteer financial planners may also use it during the session to collect information about the client.
- Articles on cultural competence: Phuong Luong, CFP®, discusses how it contributes to successful pro bono engagements, and Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP®, touches on the importance of education on the African-American experiencein order to better serve and support African-American clients.
- Planning for Good: Using your Financial Planning Expertise to Help Your Community: This deckand accompanying pdf provides information for financial planners seeking to use their financial planning expertise to help their community with topics such as choosing a volunteer opportunity, understanding community based organizations and the needs of clients, planning the work, and evaluation and monitoring.
The following documents can help CFP® professionals and their firms set policy and develop requirements related to pro bono financial planning:
- Frequently Asked Questionsand helpful answers that advisors who want to do pro bono service can use with their Compliance Departments.
- This Sample Pro Bono Financial Planning Policycan help corporations set policy and develop requirements for planners providing free services to individuals and families in need.
These disclosures can also serve as important tools in a pro bono engagements:
- Sample Pro Bono Financial Planning Engagement Letter: Used to define the terms and objectives of the relationship as well as the limitations of service. FFP recommends that the Letter of Engagement be signed by the financial planner and the client, with a copy retained by each, and if feasible by the nonprofit host of the program.
- Sample Volunteer Agreement Disclaimer:This disclaimer, developed by the Foundation for Financial Planning, ensures that pro bono financial planners and nonprofit organizations agree to a set of terms as they engage with one another.
Resources focused on a specific population, like military/veterans, people affected by serious illness, or domestic violence survivors.
- Secure your Financial Future: Building Wealth is a personal finance education resource that presents an overview of wealth-building strategies for consumers, community leaders, teachers and students.
- CFPB’s Your Money, Your Goals toolkit, and related videos, helps practitioners have money conversations with their clients. A companion to this toolkit, the Your Money, Your Goals Military Guide, provides resources to help military families overcome the unique financial challenges they face and improve their financial well-being.
- Navigating Your Financial Roadmap Workbook PDF (all populations)
- FindHelp.org: A comprehensive, location-based network of free and reduced-cost resources for food, housing, goods, transit, health, money, care, education, work, legal assistance and more. It includes listings for both social services provided by nonprofits and government benefits. Visit findhelp.org, and enter a zipcode to find resources.
- Benefits.gov: The official benefits website of the U.S. government, where consumers can find public benefits they may be eligible to receive and information about how to apply. Examples of public benefits include Medicaid, Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), LIHEAP (utility assistance), Section 8 (rental housing vouchers), and much more!
Financial Planning Event-in-a-Box: This toolkit (including an overview document and sample templates/documents) has been developed to help financial planning groups, nonprofits and others organize, promote, and execute events that offer a combination of educational sessions and free one-on-one advice from CFP® professionals to at-risk people from the community. The resource includes general instructions, guidelines, sample documents, and templates for implementing the event.
CFPB Bulk Publications and other Practitioner Resources: The mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for consumers by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.
Nonprofits and pro bono financial planners can use CFPB publications and resources to help the people they serve increase their understanding of key areas such as credit, saving, debt, retirement, and more. CFPB also offers a number of prerecorded webinar series that pro bono financial planners can use to support their clients, including: