Non-Profit Organization Investment Policies

Revising Policies and Practices to Recognize and Control New Market Risks

Recording of a 100-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, July 23, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will outline steps for non-profit advisors to craft a general strategy for working with investment committees and trustees to scrutinize and revise investment policies.


A well-conceived investment policy is fundamental to a non-profit organization's success and even survival. As far back as 2007, a survey found that 70% of NPOs are exposed to illiquid real estate or private equity investments. Now, many NPOs find their policies did not anticipate today's market turmoil.

Suitably safe investment opportunities are scarce, and profitable ones are rare. NPOs' investment committees and trustees must rely on sound written investment policies — and on their professional advisors to help ensure those policies are updated and sufficiently exacting.

NPOs must revisit policies now to ensure consistency on acceptable risks and investments and on expectations of outside money managers, and the flexibility to react to current conditions. Conditions require diligent scrutiny of current financial positions, trust and brokerage accounts, etc.

Listen as our panel of veteran accounting advisors offers best practices for non-profit organizations to reevaluate and reshape their investment policies. The panel will discuss ongoing financial oversight to keep pace with today's rocky equity markets.



  1. The state of investment markets for non-profit organizations and foundations
    1. Severely declining returns and liquidity
    2. Pressures to find acceptable returns to sustain the NPO’s mission and staffing levels
  2. The process of updating a non-profit investment policy
    1. Permissible asset categories
      1. Asset allocation and diversification
    2. Risk tolerance
    3. Evaluating, hiring and setting expectations for outside investment advisors and money managers
  3. Ongoing oversight of outside advisors
    1. Staying current on the NPO’s financial position and portfolio value
    2. Nature and frequency of money managers’ performance reports
    3. Reviewing trust and brokerage agreements and related documents
  4. Special challenges for non-profits’ investments
    1. Foreign investments and the “jeopardizing investment” issue
    2. Complying with FASB Staff Position 117-1 on non-profits relying on endowments
      1. Revamping donor-restricted asset classifications for the UPMIFA states


The panel will address these and other critical topics:

  • Fundamentals for investment policy and financial position reviews: First priorities, striking a proper balance between prohibited investments and flexibility, getting actionable performance reports from money managers.
  • Donor-restricted endowment funds: Changing investment policies for states that adopt UPMIFA laws.
  • Policing and reporting foreign investments: "Jeopardizing investments" after the Madoff scandal, exotic investments like hedge funds, the IRS emphasis on disclosure rules.


Robert Venezia
Robert Venezia
Founder and Chief Investment Officer
Key Investment Team

He has worked in investment management for non-profit and individual clients, as well as investment advisory and asset...  |  Read More

Nasi Raissian
Nasi Raissian
Senior Manager, Non-Profit Organizations Practice
Ireland San Filippo

She has 20 years of experience and has been with the firm since May 2008 after spending 11 years with the Caporicci...  |  Read More

John Nihill
John Nihill

Shareholder and Non-Profit Industry Group Practice Leader
Elko & Associates

He has 27 years of experience in the accounting profession and has worked with his firm since 1993. He previously...  |  Read More

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