Getting charity investing right from the start… and the questions trustees need to ask

29 April 2024

Getting charity investing right from the start… and the questions trustees need to ask

Whether your charity is looking to invest for the first time, or deciding what to do next with existing investments, it can be a challenging topic for trustees to navigate. 

If you’ve got investment expertise on the board, you’re off to a good start. But without it, managing the myriad complexities of the investment world can be complex. 

Having the counsel of an independent financial adviser can make all the difference. But how might they help you? And what questions should trustees be asking to get the best from them?  

Get it right from the start…

Having an investment strategy – and an investment policy that reflects that strategy – are essential first steps for the board.

An external adviser can be invaluable in helping you to create or update both – and to make sure you’re looking at possible investment approaches in the context of your organisation’s wider financial objectives, cashflow and reserves position. Then, with your strategy and policy in place, they can also support you with choosing the right investment manager to oversee your investments. 

Ask the right questions…

To develop or refresh your investment strategy and policy, there are a number of questions that the board of trustees should be asking their financial adviser to explore with them, including:

  • What's the purpose of us investing?
  • What kind of returns do we want to achieve?
  • Over what time period?
  • What risks are concerning us the most – and how can we mitigate them?  


The benefits of not going it alone…

As well as getting answers to those questions, having a good financial adviser on board can help in a number of other ways, including:

  • Enhancing the relationship between the board and your investment manager
  • Acting as an independent sounding board and adviser to you and your fellow trustees
  • Easing the burden of responsibility and regulation around investing that charity trustees face
  • Providing clarity when it comes to investment performance monitoring and reporting. 

 What boards are looking for…

Of course, a successful financial adviser will need to be highly attuned to what you’re looking for from them. Trustees tell us the sorts of things that matter include:

  • Expertise – somebody who is knowledgeable about the specifics of the charity sector and charity investments
  • A specialist who can identify the key investment challenges, risks and opportunities relevant to the organisation
  • A trusted partner who is proactive, transparent and committed
  • Cutting through the jargon and complexity. Someone who can help the board and finance team to monitor and clearly understand how investments are performing to inform future decision-making.

Find the support you need…

If you’re keen to explore whether a financial adviser could support your charity’s investment approach, the Charity Intelligence website can help. We provide a FREE matching service to connect you with the expertise you need, based on your answers to a few simple questions. Get started here. And if you have any questions about charity investing or the role of a financial adviser, we'd be more than happy to help. For an informal chat, drop us a line at [email protected]

Sign Up

Sign in to continue reading

Access all our articles and search the provider directory for free.