Investment Advisory Services for Non-Profits, Foundations, and Endowments

Successful connection concept, businessman and financial advisor analyzing customized investment strategies on tablet in office

Investment advisory services have become an increasingly important component of the financial planning process for non-profits, foundations, and endowments. Whether you are looking to maximize returns on your portfolio, mitigate risk, or develop a strategy that fits within your organization’s mission, outsourced investment advice can help manage these objectives by  deploying strategies tailored to your needs.

Nurturing your organization’s financial health can be complex and daunting. However, for non profit entities like foundations and endowments, it is essential to carefully plan investments, not only for current operations but also for their organization’s long-term growth.

In this guide, we will dive into the complexities of how to select the right investment advisor for your organization and review some key considerations when evaluating potential wealth managers in order to ensure that your organization’s finances are being managed as effectively and efficiently as possible in order to meet your financial goals.

Chapter 1

The Importance and Responsibility of Stewardship Within Your Organization

Taking ownership of your organization’s endowment funds is a critical step for any business. Finding the right financial advisory team can be immensely valuable in making sure that these assets are handled responsibly and help you grow towards achieving those established goals. Don’t make it just about money, but rather think long-term with careful stewardship to keep an eye on both growth potential and moral principles.

Steps shaped jigsaw puzzle. Drawing up arrow on black. Concept image of the importance of stewardship within your organization to achieve progress and successIt is paramount to do your due diligence while selecting an experienced financial advisory firm, as they will be an integral partner in understanding the market and helping manage your  investments effectively. An experienced team of advisors won’t just deliver personalized  services to your organization but assistance in all aspects of portfolio design, financial planning, and reporting.

Making decisions regarding your endowment’s funds shouldn’t be taken lightly. It takes  informed, unbiased advice and the right financial advisory team to ensure lasting success – one that could potentially go on for years or even decades! Don’t rush into anything; take your time researching potential candidates in order to find a trustworthy partnership you can rely on long term.

Stewardship within an organization is of the utmost importance, as it helps guide the organization’s success, progress, and achievement of its objectives. This responsibility  encompasses more than just financial resources – it also has to do with people, processes, and goals. Having a clear understanding of stewardship and ensuring it is executed according to organizational values is key to a prosperous future for the organization.

Consequently, taking ownership of this important responsibility should be treated seriously by all involved personnel so that the organization can continue to work toward achieving excellence and reaching its fullest potential.

Read our Blog: Stewardship Principles for Non-Profits

Chapter 2

Consider Partnering with a Fiduciary Financial Advisor

Dictionary definition of fiduciary. Investment advisor fiduciary dutiesYour nonprofit organization’s assets are a precious and invaluable resource that should be carefully nurtured, protected, and managed. Partnering with an experienced fiduciary financial advisor can help safeguard your resources while safely growing their value over time.

A Certified Investment Management Analyst ® (CIMA®) professional is a financial fiduciary investment consultant. Issued by the Investments and Wealth Institute, the CIMA® designation focuses on topic such as investment policy, asset allocation, portfolio construction, money manager due diligence, risk measurement, and portfolio monitoring.

Choosing to collaborate with a CIMA® professional allows you to access the expertise of a dedicated, forward-thinking investment consultant or advisor. These individuals are not only highly proficient, but also deeply invested in your financial success. With their commitment to continuous growth and development, CIMA® professionals excel in investment guidance.

Through robust investment recommendations, sound asset management advice, and absolute transparency in each transaction, developing an effective partnership with a CIMA® professional allows you to pursue the continued nurturing and growth of your organization’s assets over time.

Chapter 3

Aligning Your Values

Having an advisor who aligns with your nonprofit’s values can play a crucial role in determining the long-term success of your organization. With an understanding of what is important to you, they can help create strategies to achieve set goals and remove any extra impediments along the way. It is important to select an advisor who expresses genuine interest, passion, and dedication towards your cause so that their motivations stay firmly rooted in supporting your vision.

An advisor who believes in what you do enables trusting relationships which provide invaluable expertise, guidance, and mentorship and is invaluable to your organization. Aligning your values with a supportive advisor who understands them allows for a more robust and successful collaboration between both parties as well as better outcomes for all those who benefit from the activities of your non-profit organization.

Working with a financial advisory firm that provides customized investment strategies based on your values and goals can be a great way to secure sustainable activity for the future. This type  of customized strategy allows you to have confidence in the stability and growth of your organization, providing assurance that your mission is being accurately represented in every endeavor.

Creating an effective team of advisors is essential to the success of any organization. It’s important to align your organizational values and goals with potential advisors who bring expertise and understanding and support what you believe in.

Finding the right advisor for your organization will take time, research, and effort. However, it can be extremely rewarding when you eventually find a financial advisory firm who compliments your organizational culture and can help steer your organization in the right direction. With a great advisory team on board, organizations can drive better efficiency, productivity, and performance – leading to even higher levels of success.

Chapter 4

What Services Should an Investment Advisor Provide to Nonprofits, Foundations, and Endowments?

Financial advisors services concept. Services an investment advisor should provide to nonprofits, foundations, and endowments.Non-profits, foundations, and endowments have unique investment needs that require specialized financial advice. An experienced investment advisor can provide an array of customized services to fulfill the individualized requirements of these organizations. These services might include portfolio management, asset allocation strategies, timely communication regarding market developments, annual performance reviews, educational programs for managers and board members, access to non-traditional asset classes such as private equity or real estate funds, and more.

Only with the right set of services provided by a knowledgeable and trustworthy investment advisor can non-profits achieve their financial goals while adhering to their fiduciary duties. While a good investment manager can provide invaluable services to your organization comprising many different aspects of financial management, here are a few core services you should consider when observing what a potential advisor has to offer:

  • Advising on the investment management process
  • Investment policy statements
  • Asset allocation strategies
  • Portfolio management
  • Board advising
  • Donor gifting strategies
  • Quarterly reporting

Different advisors may have different services to offer, and they will specialize in different areas. For example, one advisor may specialize or focus primarily on portfolio management and developing the right asset allocation in accordance with your organization’s risk parameters. However, another advisor might specialize in developing educational programs for board members.

While finding an advisor who offers comprehensive investment management consulting services is best, first determine which services your organization or foundation needs most, then focus your search on advisors who specialize in these areas.

Chapter 5

The Importance of an Investment Policy Statement for Endowments, Nonprofits, and Foundations

An Investment Policy Statement is important for all endowments, nonprofits, and foundations. It provides a guide for investment decisions, helps to ensure that an organization’s goals are met in its investments, and can be used as a benchmark to measure performance over time.

Creating an Investment Policy Statement is critical to building a successful portfolio. With this document in place, trustees and board members have a clear set of parameters for making investment decisions. It helps to bring clarity and transparency to the process of investing, but with a clear statement in place, organizations can be confident their portfolios will comply with state regulations. A well-written statement protects organizations from potential legal liabilities associated with the management of their investments.

All endowments, nonprofits, and foundations need a well-defined investment policy statement to manage their resources efficiently. A clearly stated policy will lay out the organization’s financial situation, investment goals, and objectives, spending policy, and risk tolerance will define acceptable investments.

This will also help guide the organization in view of external regulations or internal changes over time. Having an Investment Policy Statement is as important to asset selection and management as it is to account for liquidity needs while adhering to fiduciary responsibilities. Moreover, a written plan reduces the potential for error since a bad decision is more likely when an organization doesn’t have a strategy in place to follow formally approved criteria. Therefore, it is essential for any endowment, nonprofit, or foundation to establish an official Investment Policy Statement, which not only serves to protect the institution from unforeseen risks, but also ensures that assets are invested with care and prudence for the benefit of its stakeholders.

Having such a statement in place allows those responsible for managing endowment funds the peace of mind that comes from meeting fiduciary obligations on behalf of their organization or institution. In short, it is essential for all endowments, nonprofits, and foundations to have an Investment Policy Statement in order to ensure sound financial decision-making and excellent financial stewardship over the long term.

Bottom Line

To summarize, investment advisory services for non-profits, foundations, and endowments can be a complex task to manage. From formulating an investing strategy that aligns with your organization’s mission objectives to understanding the tax ramifications of charitable giving, it is important to have professional help in order to ensure success in achieving financial goals. Furthermore, finding the right investment advisor who also aligns with your organization’s values  and principles will also take time, but it will be worth it for your organization in the long-run.

For organizations looking to take their investments to the next level and make a lasting impact on the communities they serve, consulting with a qualified financial advisor can be the right step in navigating the current markets and future growth opportunities. By implementing sound strategies and properly managing donor funds, non-profits and foundations alike can continue their long record of positive impacts on society.


This article is intended for informational purposes only, and not to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell securities. Do not use this report as the sole basis for investment decisions. Do not select an asset class or investment product based on performance alone. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon. This report is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector, or the markets generally.

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