ProBonoPlannerMatch.org Volunteer FAQ
FFP supports pro bono financial planning programs that offer people in need free, no-strings-attached guidance that is confidential, interactive, personalized and actionable. We emphasize one-on-one interactions between the volunteer planner and client; small, interactive workshop settings where the client has the opportunity to have personal interaction with the planner can also qualify.
Pro bono clients must be unable to easily afford or access financial planning on their own. Thus ‘pro bono’ is truly a donation of services to those in need – never done for the purposes of lead generation or paid client cultivation.
For more information on our definition, click here.
The Foundation for Financial Planning is a Washington, DC-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization, solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning to at-risk people who otherwise could not afford this service, including active military members and wounded veterans, people with cancer and other serious medical diagnoses, seniors and family caregivers, low-income individuals and their families, domestic violence survivors and many more.
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals in good standing with the CFP Board.
Pro bono financial planners can help low- to moderate- income individuals and families in many ways by assessing their financial situations, challenges, and questions and providing objective, ethical advice and actionable steps for improvement. For example, volunteer financial planners can often help pro bono clients:
- See and understand the ‘big picture’ in their financial lives, then set and prioritize goals
- Create or assess a household budget and balance sheets
- Organize their finances, track and reduce expenses, and manage or prioritize debts
- Save for an emergency fund, other major needs, and even begin to invest
- Understand complex financial concepts and products, including insurance, mortgages and taxes
- Navigate employee and government benefits like Social Security and Medicare
- Avoid scams and predators
- And much more…
Pro bono guidance and planning can be delivered in-person or by virtual means, and may be a one-time opportunity (e.g., a financial clinic) or a multi-touch arrangement (e.g., financial mentoring), depending on the nonprofit program.
While FFP’s volunteer platform is designed to specifically match CFP® professionals with volunteer opportunities at nonprofits, many organizations that have financial capability programs also have volunteer opportunities for other types of financial professionals. We encourage you to reach out to nonprofit organizations in your community such as:
United Way Financial Empowerment Centers
Habitat for Humanity
LISC Financial Opportunity Centers
AARP State Offices
VITA (tax-aide) Programs
Legal Aid Organizations (especially those that help clients with housing issues)
You may also find opportunities through other types of volunteer matching platforms such as:
We recommend that you reach out to the organization (using the contact information provided) to discuss the project before deciding to move forward. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the opportunity and the organization itself.
We provide a number of tools and resources that can help.
All volunteers should take our Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training, a free, 50-minute online course that helps financial planners understand the basics of helping underserved people. This course is approved for one hour of continuing education (CE) credit by the CFP Board.
We also provide samples of worksheets for use in volunteering as well as a Client / Planner Letter of Engagement. A letter of engagement, which must be signed by the financial planner and the client, is an important tool in a pro bono relationship. The Financial Planning Association provides a similar sample letter of engagement for FPA members that engage in pro bono financial planning.
Samples of worksheets for use during one-on-one engagements:
You should obtain approval from your firm’s compliance or legal department before engaging in pro bono financial planning. Many firms encourage pro bono service and highly value giving back to the community in this way.
Don’t worry – the Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) has you covered!
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.
Many financial advisor E&O insurance policies cover pro bono service, and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) also offers its qualifying members coverage under its pro bono insurance policy. Check with your broker or agent if you have questions about your own policy. FFP’s policy is secondary insurance coverage and will apply after your other applicable E&O insurance coverages are exhausted.
FFP’s insurance policy, underwritten by Markel, has a $1 million limit to liability for each loss, with an aggregate limit of $2 million.
For more information on FFP’s policy, please contact Rachel Roth, FFP Director of Grants & Programs at RRoth@FFPprobono.org.
Pro Bono Planner Match was launched in February 2020. FFP is working hard to recruit nonprofits and to populate volunteer opportunities across the country, but this will take time. If you don’t see a listing in your geographic area, we suggest that you:
1 ) Check out remote opportunities such as FFP’s Financial Planning for Cancer Program, a virtual program that matches cancer patients and their caregivers with pro bono financial planners to help mitigate the financial risks associated with treatment;
2) If you are an FPA® member, contact your local chapter to see if they have an existing pro bono program in your area;
3) Reach out to local chapters of national organizations such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and Catholic Charities who may have their own financial capability programs in need of volunteers.
Thank you for your willingness to lend your skills to those in need!