Charities are under increased pressure and scrutiny into how they are spending their money, especially when it comes to charity investments. Investments are a viable method of generating income for any size charity as long as they are smart and the company that they are investing in fits the brand. The last thing a charity wants is to be working with a company that contradicts the work that they do.
To ensure that your charity investments match your mission, we’ve put together a few things you can do to get started.
Develop a Responsible Investment Policy
Of course, planning is an essential tool to success, so devising a responsible investment policy is really important. Decisions you need to be making include:
- The charity’s financial plan and objectives
- How much money is available for investment and how much is restricted
- What companies the charity would like to invest in
- What the timescale is for investments
When developing your policy, make sure to get the whole organisation involved, as not only will this ensure that everyone is aware and the choices support their work, but it also makes sure that everything is researched fully.
Approach Your Current Investments
Another way to ensure that your investments match your charity’s mission is to review your current investments. Does the work they do fit your brand? If so, great! If not, engage with them and encourage them to change their practices to better align yourselves together. Whether this is suggesting changes such as reducing energy use or increasing the living wage, you can try to negotiate with companies by:
- Communicating with them directly – e.g sending emails, writing letters or attending meetings
- Communicating with them indirectly – e.g file a shareholder resolution or publicly express your concerns
Getting an investee company to change some of their practices to match your mission can make a huge impact, so it is worth trying to negotiate a solution for the benefit of both partners.
Work Alongside Influential People
One of the best ways to ensure you are doing all that you can in the investment world is to work alongside professionals. Players such as asset managers and other investors can really help you out, so don’t be afraid to seek advice and work with others.
When choosing an asset manager, someone who engages with potential investee companies on behalf of shareholders, make sure they are aware of and are committed to your responsible investment policy. It is also wise to request regular reports, especially on their engagement and always bring it back to how these activities are supporting your goals for investment.
As Always…Tell the World
Charities survive on spreading awareness of their cause and their efforts towards this cause, so it shouldn’t be any different for investments. Make sure to have a page on your website that shows the work that you’re doing with responsible investments and if you are trying to get your investee company to improve their practices, the more social media and awareness the better.
So, number one rule for charity investments: develop a responsible investment policy first. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and will guide your managers and trustees to make investments that support your charity’s mission.