Tough Times: Nonprofits Will Not Survive On Well Wishes Alone

Our region has a long, storied history of charity work. Nonprofits continue to be an integral part of our community, improving the quality of life for so many of us in so many ways. Yet today, with so many in need, nonprofits are facing serious financial challenges that jeopardize their existence.

Fragasso Financial Advisors, individually and as a company, realizes the important role nonprofits play in making Pittsburgh and the surrounding area one of the best places to live in the country. Many of us are closely connected with myriad nonprofits in the region, serving as board members and volunteers. As a firm, we also give back to these great organizations through financial support. We’re also fortunate to have some of them as clients.

Although we realize the critical work they do, the harsh reality is that well wishes simply aren’t enough today. Most people in the community can appreciate the good work nonprofits do, but the economy has donors and grantors turning conservative and more selective in their giving, meaning there’s less money available. If nonprofits do not preserve capital and generate income, they cannot continue to fulfill and sustain their mission, and the community will suffer for it.

Now more than ever, nonprofits must take a holistic approach to investment management. Having worked with clients to help achieve their financial goals for more than 40 years, Fragasso Financial Advisors has honed an effective process that does just that.

We’ve learned that it’s critical to understand the mission, culture and goals of the organization, where its money comes from, how it uses that money, including short- and long-term plans, and its risk tolerance.

Working from a plan that clearly outlines client expectations and what we can do to help meet those is critical. Ensuring clients understand their obligations to us – letting their financial advisor know when organizational goals and strategies change, for example – is a must. With that understanding, our financial advisors can help develop an investment policy and guidelines statement for nonprofit clients and begin to analyze and allocate all of an organization’s assets, segregating funds for day-to-day operations, putting in place a plan for short-term projects and investing surplus funds in a way that will help meet expectations and sustain the charity.

In our experience, we’ve identified 10 points of vulnerability that may keep nonprofits from meeting their investment objectives, which you can download for free from our site.

As a community, we should each do our share by supporting nonprofits that provide such necessary and valuable services. Our firm has made it part of our culture. Our financial advisors serve on boards and donate their time and money, as does our firm, because a healthy nonprofit sector is necessary to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise our families. Call us to learn more about how Fragasso Financial Advisors can help you ensure your nonprofit continues to do the work that is so needed today.

Dotti Bechtol is Fiduciary Asset Business Development Officer at Fragasso Financial Advisors, a Pittsburgh-based investment and financial planning firm.  Due to industry regulations, comments are not permitted on this blog.  If you would like to contact the author, please email us at  Bob can also be reached for comment at 412-227-3200.

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