‘Change approach to attract corporate donors’.
Charities should improve commercial approach to attract corporate donors
Charity trustees believe corporate donors are becoming more important and that charities should review their governance and approach in order to attract more corporate partners, according to research conducted following the inaugural OLIM Investment Managers Charity Conference held in June 2017.
Trustees cited an inadequate commercial approach (37%) and governance (31%) as the most significant barriers preventing them from raising more corporate money, followed by poor reporting (17%).
The research also found that the uncertain economic environment (20%) and a lack of high yielding, attractive investments (20%) are perceived as the biggest challenges facing charities in the next 12 months. Reflecting a desire for stable income in these challenges times, trustees (29%) cited a long-term approach to investing as the single most important factor when selecting an investment manager.
When considering investments, trustees are focused on results, recognising total return (23%), income (23%) and capital growth (20%) as most essential.
Other findings from the research include:
- 34% of trustees plan to increase their level of digital investment in the next 12 months, with the remainder maintaining current levels;
- Of that investment, trustees are focused on enhancing cybersecurity (23%), operational software (20%) and websites (17%);
- Charities see integrity (29%) and a robust organisational structure (26%) as the most important factors for good governance;
- Regulation and governance requirements (6%), changes to fundraising practices (6%) and complying with data protection rules (6%) were among the lowest perceived threats.
Angela Lascelles, co-founder and portfolio manager at OLIM, says: “What has become evident over recent years is that donors, in particular corporate donors, place a greater emphasis on reviewing how efficiently a charity is run. An efficient approach in the charity sector does not mean seeking to maximise financial return, but demonstrating how social return is being maximised on each pound invested or donated.
“As an investment manager, it was encouraging to hear that charities with endowments were concentrating on establishing portfolios built on the solid foundations of a long-term, prudent approach to investing and not being distracted by the consistent barrage of real-time economic & political news.”