One of the smartest ways that I have found to help ramp up my practice is to be involved in my community through volunteer activities.

Connecting with people who are like me, with similar interests and values, is an easy way to build the trust required for a potential financial planning relationship.

Some of the roles I hold are specifically because I am a CFP. I am the treasurer of one organization, I help run the school spirit store and I also head up an ad-hoc finance committee for the local women’s club.

All these groups approached me with a specific job in mind, knowing what I do for a living.

As my work as an advisor is promoted to the school or club, it is great professional exposure for me.

But that isn’t why I do it, and that is an important point. Serving on a board to list it in one’s biography isn’t an authentic reason to volunteer.

And it is easy to tell who isn’t being genuine when they take part in volunteer activities.

Trying to force it can mean potentially not meeting like-minded people. Commonality makes others feel more at ease, and this can lead to netting new clients.

Advisors should make sure that they volunteer in ways that they enjoy. For instance, coaching a team or serving in a religious setting can be fulfilling and can provide valuable connections.

Online groups can be a great networking tool, too. My neighborhood has an online mom’s group, and I also participate in, an online community that links our immediate neighborhood with surrounding ones.

Each of these groups has more than 1,200 members. I don’t use these forums to advertise my services but rather reply to questions that arise about estate planning, insurance coverage or anything else that is asked that is related to what I do.

In both forums, I am considered to be an expert on such topics, and people remember this when they are in a situation that requires the services of an advisor. I have found many clients that way.

I highly recommend to other advisors that they make use of these types of online communities and get their expert opinions out there as soon as possible.

Being involved in the community is rewarding in its own right, and if advisors can be marketing at the same time, that is an added benefit.

Lauren Gadkowski Lindsay is a CFP and the director of financial planning at Personal Financial Advisors in Covington, La.

This story is part of a 30-day series on smart ways to grow your practice.

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