2022 Global not-for-profit investment survey 

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July 1, 2022

What’s on the minds of not-for-profit investors in what could be one of the most challenging market environments for many years?

That’s exactly what our Global Not-for-Profit Investment Survey set out to determine, and you can now analyse its findings in the report. We canvassed the opinions and intentions of not-for-profit investors from around the world on a range of subjects, including their confidence in meeting their investment objectives, investing in private markets, sustainability and the need to outsource some of their responsibilities to external experts. As well as reporting on the results, we set out a range of possible action points for not for profits looking to maximise their chances of achieving their various aims.

What not-for-profit investors are telling us


of survey participants say low expected future returns are their number one challenge over the next three years


of respondents see diversifying away from traditional asset classes as their greatest opportunity over the next three years.


of survey participants say they're using external expertise to help navigate this complexity 


of survey participants believe meeting their ESG investing goals means compromising on returns.

Actions not-for-profit investors can take

Low expected future returns (59%) and inflation (50%) identified as the top 2 investment challenges for not for profits over the next 3 years.

Action points

  • Review how the assets in your portfolio are likely to perform in a period of sustained high inflation
  • Which asset classes offer protection against inflation
  • Consider assets likely to perform well in an environment of rising rates as central banks act to counter inflation

65% of respondents see diversifying away from traditional asset classes as their greatest opportunity over the next three years.

Action points

  • Decide what you’re trying to achieve and what you need your allocation to private markets to do for your portfolio
  • Use experts to identify asset classes, develop a clear commitment plan and ensure appropriate sizing 

44% of respondents say their portfolios are more complex today than they were three years ago.

Action points

  • Consider additional governance models (outsourcing, extension of staff etc) to ensure effective  the sourcing, assessment and execution which complement in-house skills
  • Regularly review your provider to ensure that they best placed to  meet your changing needs

72% of respondents state an intention to increase or significantly increase their exposure to ESG-focused investments over the next 12 months. However 39% believe they have to make compromises on their investment objectives, and, of that group 57% believe they will have to compromise on absolute return. 

Action points

  • Develop a clear policy for all of your organisation’s stakeholders covering responsible investing that covers issues such as mission alignment; diversity, equity & inclusion; and climate risk
  • If you want to make a positive impact, move beyond exclusions toward thematic or impact strategies with measurable stewardship and engagement outcomes
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