Tips for Choosing an Investment Advisor for your Nonprofit

Presented to you by: Fred Burgess

When it comes to choosing an investment advisor to provide your nonprofit company with reliable, trusted guidance you want to make sure you are asking the right questions.

To help grow and protect your organizations assets an individual with significant investment expertise including endowments and institutional portfolios is a must. Should you not have a person on staff here are a few tips on finding a qualified individual right for your nonprofit.

Where to begin

After you and your board have compiled a pool of qualified candidates, review their qualifications and references, narrowing down your pool to two or three individuals to be interviewed. Some of the questions to ask include:

  • What services do you provide?
  • What certifications do you have?
  • What is your experience with our industry?
  • Are you familiar with our organization?
    • Familiar with problems facing our organization?
  • How would you develop and implement an investment strategy that’s right for us?
    • How do you evaluate our risk tolerance and investment approach?
  • Are you typically available for in-person meetings and/or calls?
    • Are they based in your community or in another area?
  • How much time do you anticipate spending each month on our account?
  • What is your fee structure?
    • Commission or trade-based?
    • Time spent or value of assets being managed?

Among other things to look for in a possible candidate are:

  • Willingness to work closely with and counsel the board
  • Are they willing to possibly attend fundraisers?
    • Are they willing to meet and greet the donors?
  • Ability to educate and explain things in a clear, simple way
  • Genuine interest in your organization’s mission, values and obstacles
  • A practical approach to tackling issues and resolving problems

When choosing an investment advisor, their role does not need to be limited to management of investment assets. The candidate might also be qualified to help in other areas such as:

  • Spending policy direction
  • Cash flow management
  • Creating and implementing investment policy statement (IPS)
  • Compliance with applicable regulations
  • Donor development

At the end of the day, an investment advisor can make a huge difference in your nonprofit organization. Finding the right fit of an individual who has the skills, track record, and overall interest in partnering with your nonprofit is essential.


MissionBox: US nonprofits: Choosing an investment adviser ( by Jodi Auvun (2018)
Gross Mendelsohn: Raising the bottom line( by Chris Johns (2013)