Supporting not-for-profits

Supporting NFPs in a changing world

Now more than ever we need a not-for profit (NFP) sector that is compassionate and effective, innovative and strong. The range of people and communities in need is only getting larger and the responsibility – and opportunity – for NFPs to make a difference is growing just as fast.


To make that difference – to really deliver for the communities they serve – NFPs need the strong underpinnings that top-quality financial governance provides.

  • An NFP investment strategy (including an NFP Investment Policy Statement) that’s tailored to the mission and the organisation. One that is part of an integrated strategy that takes account of an NFP’s Spending Policy and delivers long-term sustainability as well as short-term program needs;
  • Financial structures and strategies that help the organisation manage their financial challenges – rising demand, variable funding, market volatility and regulatory change;
  • An integrated approach to NFP financial governance that helps NFP executives, boards and CFOs meet all their compliance and regulatory obligations and by doing so meet the needs and expectations of stakeholders including donors, partners and government. With that high level of NFP financial governance in place, NFP leaders are freed to focus on managing their organisation, delivering on their mission and growing their capability.  

At Perpetual, we have a team of experts across philanthropy, governance and investment that work together to help NFPs meet all their investment strategy, sustainability and governance needs.

We believe NFPs are a great engine for good. We’re here to help the leaders who drive them forward. 


We are one of Australia’s largest managers and distributors of philanthropic funds, including acting as trustee for around 1,000 charitable trusts and endowments holding $3.6b in funds (as at 30 June 2021) and committing over $100m in grants to the not-for-profit sector on behalf of our philanthropic clients in the 2021 financial year.

Find out more about our Impact Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP)


Insights and Resources

Perpetual seeks to strengthen the NFP sector by having our NFP, investment, governance and philanthropy specialists contribute to the debates that maximise the impact NFPs have in the community.



Perpetual publishes IMPACT, a digital newsletter focused on the issues that matter to philanthropists and NFPs – subscribe to our IMPACT newsletter here. Perpetual also runs a LinkedIn page specifically for the NFP/Philanthropy sector.

IPAP Thumbnail


Every year Perpetual collects a wide range of data on the NFP sector via funding applications from our IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP). That data - and insights from Perpetual's community team - provide a real snapshot of what's happening in the community sector in Australia today.

How NFPs should engage with Government


There are three layers of government in Australia and smart NFPs engage with them all. In this video, Neil Pharaoh discusses a new Government Relations White Paper he has produced with Perpetual and explores why NFPs need to engage with government, how to do it well and the crucial role NFP boards should play.




The Government calls its reform of Aged Care a ‘once in a generation’ reform. Though Aged Care providers welcome the reform, they are being asked to manage this landmark systemic change whilst dealing with a web of interconnecting challenges. How can providers manage these reforms, ensure their future viability and protect the interest of their clients? The answers can be found in a new white paper, jointly produced by Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), advisory group Fordham and investment specialist Perpetual.

More on fundraising

Perpetual invites NFPs to apply for funding through our IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP). Each year Perpetual distributes around $100 million from the charitable trusts and foundations it manages on behalf of its philanthropic clients.

These grants have funded initiatives in arts and culture, education, the environment, social welfare, medical research and more.


View more insights and resources for NFPs and philanthropists here.

How we help

Perpetual has been supporting NFPs for decades – by expertly investing charitable reserves to fund their work, building governance skillsets and by working with NFP leadership to create capabilities that serves all stakeholders – clients, donors and partners. Fordham, a specialist accounting firm that’s part of the Perpetual Group also provides a wide range of accounting and business services to NFPs – ranging from payroll to budgets and cashflow management, tax and financial statement administration and ACNC lodgments.

Transparent financial governance is crucial for NFPs – their reputation is a key element of their ability to raise funds and attract high quality staff. It also underpins an NFP's ability to work effectively with other stakeholders – government or community bodies who need to know they are partnering with high quality organisations. Transparent financial governance is also crucial in a sector where compliance responsibilities loom ever larger.

Effective financial governance reduces risk for the organisation and its leaders. By helping to put in place policies and structures that have been tested and refined over many years, Perpetual can ensure your organisation’s financial governance policies are best-practice and evolve over time to meet changing needs.

Strategic financial governance practices must be aligned to the strategic goals of your NFP. Investment and spending policies that are tuned to your mission, your financial position and plans for service expansion. Structures and policies that reflect the risk profile and risk appetite of your organisation, stakeholders and board. At Perpetual we’ve worked with a wide variety of NFPs over decades. Our governance recommendations and implementation can help NFPs achieve their goals whilst ensuring compliance, integrity and accountability to stakeholders.

  • Perpetual has been helping NFP boards adapt their governance processes to better manage COVID-19.

At Perpetual, we work with many NFPs who have seen improvement across all aspects of their operations when they optimise governance. Firstly, they achieve better financial results. Just as importantly, improved financial governance helps generate more support from funders and philanthropists and opens doors for partnerships with other NFPs, government and community groups.

  • Perpetual also works with NFPs in the Aged Care sector. This white paper explores the challenge – and opportunity – of new investment approaches in Aged Care.

For many NFPs, successful management of their capital – and the cashflows they generate from fundraising – are crucial to sustainable success.

Investment Policy Statements

An Investment Policy Statement defines how an NFPs investment portfolio is to be managed and how investment decisions will be made. It is a crucial element of sound financial governance. Perpetual’s Investment Policy Statement service helps NFPs develop a prudent, ‘best practice’ Investment Policy.

Spending Policy

Linking a well thought-through Spending Policy to the overarching Investment Policy will further enhance financial governance. A Spending Policy sets out how distributions from your long term investment portfolio are paid into your operating revenue. It helps balance the NFPs short-term operational needs with the long-term sustainability of that investment portfolio. Perpetual’s Spending Policy workshop helps NFPs decide what approach is best for their organisation.

Strategic investing

There is no one-size fits all investment strategy that will work for all NFPs. The nature of the mission, cashflows, size, liquidity needs, stakeholder relationships and, crucially, board expectations and experience will all be important influences on the strategies NFPs adopt to manage their funds. At Perpetual we work with NFPs to develop, implement and optimise investment strategies that address all these issues. 

Risk management

As with all investors, NFPs need to understand and manage investment risk. Act too boldly and your organisation’s activities could be affected. Invest too conservatively and you reduce your ability to fund future activities by allowing the real value of your capital to fall. Our “protect and grow” philosophy balances risk and return and is executed using sophisticated investment strategies that are tailored to NFP’s needs.

Strategic asset allocation

Having the right mix of assets is not simply a question of investment methodology. When we build portfolios for our NFP clients we take into consideration issues like cashflows, time horizons, risk profiles and more. For some clients, asset allocation decisions will be all about generating income to fund regular activities. For others it will be about maximising long-term growth. We have worked with many NFPs over the years where these questions involved a change of strategy. These strategic shifts can be as different as the organisations that need them. For example:

  • moving away from property ownership towards more liquid investments.
  • a strengthened focus on building up cash reserves.
  • a decision not to invest to generate income but to focus on higher longer-term returns to grow the portfolio and fund a planned long-term shift in the mission.


We recognise that in a very real sense, NFPs are often managing other people’s money – whether it’s donors, governments or communities. That makes accountability, communication and reporting vital. Perpetual advisers work closely with our investment team and with NFP boards and leaders to tailor regular investment reporting and board presentations so NFP leaders always understand what’s happening with the funds they’re accountable for.  

Investment experience

Investing for NFPs is a specialist skill and Perpetual offers NFP clients the benefit of extensive experience and real scale. Perpetual is one of Australia’s largest managers of philanthropic funds, with $2.9 billion in funds under advice for charitable trusts and endowment funds as at the end of FY20.

Perpetual’s investment philosophy is built around quality, value and risk management. We take a long-term approach to investing and believe high quality investments perform over time. 

We enact this investment philosophy by diversifying across asset classes, industry sectors and individual investments and ensuring the assets in portfolios meet our stringent quality investment criteria.

Perpetual works closely with NFPs and other philanthropy sector stakeholders to build capacity across the sector through thought leadership, network building, education and practical assistance. Here are just some of the capacity building activities Perpetual invests in.

Stanford PACS

Perpetual has an ongoing partnership with Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS). That partnership brings top-quality thinking from PACS leaders such as Lucy Bernholz, Rob Reich, Paul Brest and others to Australia to talk on issues as varied as philanthropy in the digital age, more effective giving, philanthropy and civil society and more. Perpetual has also sponsored educational visits to Stanford for a wide range of NFP and philanthropy leaders across Australia.

CFO series

In any NFP it is the CFOs, finance teams, investment committees and boards who drive the organisation’s financial governance and long-term sustainability. To help these leaders Perpetual’s NFP investment experts offer them access to white papers, financial tools and resources and opportunities to network with peers.

Data for decision making 

Perpetual is committed to providing tools and resources to support our not-for-profit clients. Through our partnership with Seer Data & Analytics, we provide clients with exclusive access to our IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP) data, to help them make data driven decisions. Perpetual’s NFP clients can access client tools and resources here.

Our financial advisers – in their own words

Jamie Cockerill

“We are strategic partners to a wide range of not for profits and community organisations. With a team of specialists across philanthropy, governance and investment management we help them deliver for their clients and communities in a constantly changing environment.” Jamie Cockerill, Partner, Perpetual Private, NSW.

Liz Wheatley

“Perpetual is working alongside NFPs and philanthropists all the time. That connection, that knowledge, means I can make a real difference whether I’m helping a client with their philanthropy – or helping an NFP with their investments or funding.” Liz Wheatley, Associate Partner, Perpetual Private, NSW.

Meet the team

Your best interests at heart


Perpetual provides a wide range of services to the NFP sector. That service is delivered by a team of experts in everything from investment and governance to philanthropy and finance. We seek to partner with NFPs in the areas where we can bring our unique capability to bear, helping them service their communities, fund their operations and increase their impact.


Perpetual works with NFPs and charities across a wide range of fields in Australia and overseas – education, social welfare, advocacy, aged care, medical research and the arts – to name a few. Our services range from NFP governance – investment and spending policies, investment strategy – to all aspects of the specialist investment management of NFP capital.

Perpetual also works with donors every day to help them generate greater impact from their giving. So, we’re a natural connecting point between philanthropists, funders and NFPs. Just as importantly, we’re constantly engaging with NFPs, philanthropists, business, government and the education sector to help increase the impact NFPs can have – through thought leadership, network building, a focus on capability and involvement in public policy processes.


Perpetual is an ASX-listed, diversified financial services company which has been serving Australians since 1886 when it was established as a trustee company a group of businessmen including Sir Edmund Barton, later to be Australia’s first Prime Minister. That trustee heritage – and the culture it created around putting clients first – is what makes Perpetual unique.


To find out more about how Perpetual can help with investments, governance, funding and more, please call us on 1800 631 381 or submit the form below.

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Other capabilities

Members of the NFP community may also be interested in Perpetual’s work in the following sectors or fields:

IMPACT Newsletter

IMPACT provides insight into important issues for philanthropists and the not-for-profit sector. It shares thought provoking ideas and best practice examples that aim to both stimulate and motivate a passion for philanthropy with Impact.

Perpetual Private advice and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo) ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This webpage contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider, with a financial or other adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. To view the Perpetual Group's Financial Services Guide, please click here. The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided in good faith. This information, including any assumptions and conclusions is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of relevant practice or law that is often complex and can change. This article may contain information contributed by third parties. PTCo do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information contributed by a third party. Any views expressed in this article are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act. No company in the Perpetual Group (Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 and its subsidiaries) guarantees the performance of any fund or the return of an investor’s capital. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.