Finance, Finance & law

Investing for Charities

Charity investment is a responsible business - judging how much to spend and how much to keep for the future is enough to keep you awake long into the night.

Investing for your charity requires careful consideration. Your first instinct when investing your charity’s funds may well be one of caution, avoiding risk and not over-spending. Although this might seem a natural and vigilant approach, this innovative book turns it on its head. It challenges conventional charity investment practice and argues that a growing pile of money should be seen as a measure of failure – what your charity has failed to spend – rather than success. Being over-protective of the capital can thwart your charity’s ultimate mission; meanwhile, spending more can make a real difference.

This book cuts through the investment industry’s mystique and jargon to show you how you can set an investment policy and think clearly about your financial goals and measures of success. It is not aimed at investment technicians but is based on sound investment principles. It will help you make sensible and well-informed investment decisions and, ultimately, empower your charity to do more with its valuable resources.

What does it cover?

It covers:

  • Financial objectives and goals
  • The investment market
  • Spending and reserves policies
  • Strategy and responsible investing
  • The law and governance
  • Investment practice
  • Performance management

Who is this book for?

This book is for anybody with responsibility for handling a charity’s investments, including trustees, CEOs and staff involved with their charity’s financial strategy. Although no prior investment knowledge is assumed, it is also useful for those in the investment industry itself. Whatever the size of your charity, if you already have investments or are considering moving into this area, this book offers straightforward, pragmatic principles that you can put to good use.

‘The author’s inimitable style and perception make this a book a joy to read. It is laced with practical wisdom, thought-provoking bon mots and helpful case studies that build over the course of the book. The author deploys his decades of experience in the charity investment world to cover the whole gamut of topics – and does so with zest, clarity, humour and salty common sense.’

Don Bawtree, Senior Adviser, BDO LLP

‘I’ve loved listening to James speak on investments at Charity Finance Group events for many years. His written words are equally engaging and don’t disappoint. Jam-packed with useful stuff, and delivered in a style that is easy to follow and makes sense, this is a great resource on charity investing.’

Caron Bradshaw, CEO, Charity Finance Group

‘Cuts through all the noise and distraction by providing thoughtful and provocative tools that will be useful to any practitioner. It brings charity investors back to what really matters – using their organisation’s wealth in a way that best helps their beneficiaries.’

Matthew Cox, Investment Director, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


‘I recommend this book enthusiastically for the trustees and senior staff of endowed charities. It focuses on investment for UK beneficiaries, is highly practical, non-technical and very well written.’

Professor Elroy Dimson, Chair, Centre for Endowment Asset Management, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge


‘Investing for Charities is an invaluable guide to charity investment. It is practical, insightful and remarkably comprehensive. It is also deeply grounded in the distinctive characteristics of different types of charity; and is packed full of the wisdom of James’s many years of experience, thought and reflection.’

Luke Fletcher, Partner, Bates Wells


‘An excellent, practical and jargon-free guide for all charity trustees, stressing the need to make and spend (wisely!) as much as you can for your beneficiaries. Given my long experience in charities and endowments – from the largest (Wellcome Trust) to a small, local charity – I know that, as James says in the book, good governance is the asset of choice. This title will be invaluable for trustees who aim to assess and implement prudent investment decisions and then to review their progress.’

Sarah Fromson, Chair of the Cambridge University Endowment Fund Investment Advisory Board


‘I could have done with James’s book when I arrived at the Barrow Cadbury Trust, having never managed an endowment. This is a book that puts money in its place – which is as a means to an end not an end in itself. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with oversight responsibility for a charitable endowment; it will help you navigate not what is ‘‘right’’ but what is right for pursuing your particular charitable purpose both now and in the future.’

Dame Sara Llewellin, CEO, Barrow Cadbury Trust

‘This book provides an invaluable reminder that charities exist to spend money not to hoard it. The better we run our investment portfolios, the more we will be able to spend. James provides a comprehensive framework in practical language for improving the way charities with investment portfolios can maximise their impact.’

Nick Moakes, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Wellcome Trust


‘It was a delight to pick up a book that challenges the usual approaches that charities take to investing by focusing on spending. Bursting with ambition, insights and practical examples, this is a book for all trustees of charities lucky enough to have investments – including trustees who already have investment experience.’

David Renton, Estates Bursar, All Souls College, University of Oxford

Look inside

Have a look inside Investing for Charities.

About the author

James Brooke Turner

James Brooke Turner has worked for charities with investments his entire career and has been a trustee of numerous others, including the Association of Charitable Foundations. He has been the Investment Director of the Nuffield Foundation for many years, where he has helped to deliver some of the best returns in the sector. James co-founded Yoke & Co., a consultancy supporting charities to take ownership of their investment strategy. He has written and spoken extensively about charity investing. James studied the History of European Art at the Courtauld Institute and later Medieval Insolvency at Birkbeck. He has numerous professional qualifications and was recognised by the Charity Finance Group as one of the inaugural Inspiring Leaders in Charity Finance.


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