WHAT LOCAL FEP VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR SHOULD KNOW – FAQ'S
Q1. What is the background of our pro bono project?
A1. From 2001 to present, Society of FSP was instrumental in developing a pro bono project (named Project for Financial Independence or PFI) with other financial planning organizations, including AICPA, FPA and NAPFA. The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) spearheaded the project for the purpose of providing one-on-one financial counseling to needy individuals referred to us through the NEFE relationships.
Q2. How did the Financial Education Partners™ program come about?
A2. We found that we were getting most of referrals from two sources American Cancer Society (ACS) and National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). We felt that instead of being of occasional help to several organizations, we should focus our attention on developing ongoing relationships with just a few organizations where we might make a positive impact. Thus, the Financial Education Partners™ (FEP) program was established, with support through our Foundation for Financial Service Professionals.
Q3. Why these three organizations?
A3. NMSS and ACS know us nationally and we had a successful financial planning project with Habitat. We wanted to focus on a few organizations so that we could concentrate our resources and serve the needs of their constituents
Q4. Can my Chapter provide pro bono work with organizations other than NMSS, Habitat and ACS?
A4. Absolutely. It is important that you continue to provide pro bono services that reflect the needs of your local community. We encourage you to consider expanding your current work to include National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity.
Q5. Where are our local SOCIETY chapters likely to have the most involvement?
A5. With NMSS. They are organized very much like the Society, with 60 chapters nationally and several satellite chapters. We have a Society chapter in virtually every location where NMSS has a presence.
Q6. How can we be of help to NMSS locally?
A6. NMSS receives calls from its local constituents who have financial problems - perhaps budgeting, health insurance, employee benefit issues, etc. What they cannot handle in-house, they need to refer to an outside source who will not take advantage of the caller. We do not anticipate that an inquiry would consume much more than an hour or so of a member's time for one-on-one pro bono counseling.
Q7. What else might we do help to NMSS locally?
A7. Each NMSS chapter has a program director responsible for organizing educational events for local constituents. Society members would be well qualified to speak about most financial planning matters. Topics of interest may include long-term care insurance considerations, Medicare Part D alternatives, retirement savings alternatives, debt management strategies, etc.
Q8. Why does NMSS want to work with us?
A8. Our members are the perfect match, particularly if they are willing to provide guidance and counseling without charge. Society members have advanced professional education, a strong commitment to the ethical treatment of the public and, through our networking relationships with each other, access to information on any financial topic. Plus, most are successful enough financially that they are already charitably inclined, have time available to “donate” to help others and have both the character and caring that one would want in a counselor.
Q9. Many of our members sell financial products. Does FEP prevent them from assisting NMSS referrals in those areas?
A9. Not at all. However, that is not the purpose of the FEP project and it undermines the integrity of the relationship if we are viewed as salespeople who are using this as a unique way to prospect. Many of the referrals have no ability to buy anything, regardless of their needs. We would anticipate that if an NMSS constituent wanted to purchase a financial product, the FEP counselor would be given due consideration.
Q10. What are the major responsibilities of the FEP coordinator?
A10. The FEP coordinator at each Society Chapter will be the primary contact for the local NMSS chapter. The coordinator primary focus will be to establish contact and build relationships with the local affiliate of HfH, ACS or NMSS. Additional duties:
- Serve as liaison between FEP Director, the Chapter and identified CBO.
- Be the point of contact to “qualify” the prospect (if needs are consistent with FEP goals and capabilities).
- Disseminate information about what FEP does and does not do.
- Coordinate time for the prospect and volunteer adviser to meet.
- Provide Feedback/Debrief volunteer counselor.
- Keep Chapter and FEP Director informed about activities and time involved.
Q11. Who is responsible for enlisting chapter volunteers?
A11. That will be done by the FEP Director, an employee of the Foundation for FSP, in concert with the local chapter if they so desire. Our surveys show that 15% of our members will, when asked, volunteer to participate in the FEP project. We will do the asking and give the chapter coordinator the resulting roster of volunteers.
Q12. What support does the Society provide for a financial planning seminar?
A12. We have 8 hours of financial planning seminar topics and handouts. These could easily be adapted to a one hour or longer presentation. The presenter would be expected to amplify major points with personal experiences.
Q13. What other support materials will the Society provide?
A13. Materials, workbooks, presentations will be developed in collaboration with our member experts. We expect that materials developed locally will be shared with the FEP Director, so that we can develop a library of materials that can be shared across all Chapters.
Q14. Is there someone at the Society's national office who will be a resource for Chapter FEP coordinators?
A14. Yes. Call the Foundation for FSP @ 800-927-2427 ext 2504 or by email at FEP@financialpro.org and you will be contacted to handle your request.