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Are you a NFP in the US? Visit our US not-for-profit investment page.

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“We believe a sustainable investment approach is more likely to create and preserve long-term capital and help not for profits achieve their objectives and align with their philanthropic mission. Learn about how we’re preparing for our client's future.”
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Not-for-profit organizations face particular challenges as they strive to balance effective governance and stewardship of investment portfolios while fulfilling the organization’s overall missions. We work with not-for-profit organizations — from smaller charities to large foundations — to create bespoke solutions that are aligned to their priorities. We help our clients to achieve better investment outcomes and reduce costs wherever possible, through a service model designed to their own individual needs. We are committed to providing innovative investment research, advice and solutions and to help protect and enhance reputations, so you can get on with changing the world for the better.

Common investment challenges


  • ESG and sustainability
  • Limited resources and expertise
  • Building a good governance framework
  • Achieving spending targets
  • Access to private markets
  • Cost and budgeting concerns

How to address these challenges

Do your research

Do your research


If you decide to manage your own portfolio, it is important to have the latest insights and investment manager research at your fingertips. Here are some resources to help:


Get some advice

Get some advice


Speaking to a specialist can help you build an investment strategy aligned to your mission. Consider investment manager selection and monitoring, asset allocation, ESG and risk management.


explore solutions

Explore solutions


Implementing a bespoke investment solution – referred to as OCIO or delegated solutions - could help reduce costs, manage your risk, use fewer resources and build resilient portfolios.


How we can help you

Designing your portfolio

Do your research

We draw on decades of experience to help you formulate a long-term, diversified investment strategy. We can also implement your existing strategy, using our operational platform to access a wide global range of managers and asset classes, at competitive fees.

Unlocking your potential

Get some advice

Unlocking the power of a portfolio comes through diversifying risk and return drivers. Private markets are becoming increasingly popular as they are often not correlated to public market volatility and have the potential to earn a premium by being held over the long term.

Investing for the future

explore solutions

We help you define and shape a responsible investment policy that is aligned to your principles and beliefs, while exploring the risks and opportunities that could significantly impact your portfolio. We also conduct rigorous oversight of managers to help ensure they are adhering to your beliefs.

Client case study

Learn how we have helped a large charitable trust in the UK


Improved governance

Lowered risk and improved overall returns

Accessed more asset classes and opportunities

Integrated ESG into overall strategy

The issue


The trustee board wanted to spend more time on its core activity of awarding grants but needed help with several investment challenges to make this happen. The board wanted to build a longer-term strategy, which incorporated both sustainability and the ability to fund the grants. The trust’s investments lacked diversification and were exposed to potentially significant downside risk. The trustee needed to manage the operational aspects of its investments but its in-house team did not have the resources or the expertise to do so.

The solution


We worked with the Trustee to develop a clear strategy with a sustainable level of grants per year whilst seeking to retain the real value of trust assets over the long term. A robust, diversified and ESG-aware investment strategy was implemented, helping reduce risk and better position the fund for opportunities. The assets were invested through Mercer’s investment solutions platform, which provides instant access to a full range of asset classes including private markets. Trust assets were invested across more than 20 high-quality managers in a cost-efficient manner.

Catch up on Not for Profits in focus: Today’s insight, tomorrow’s strategy

How does your investment strategy size up?




We reveal our 2022 global Not for Profit survey results. Discover what actions your peers are taking to face the challenges of today and how they are preparing for tomorrow’s new opportunities.  


Targeting long-term objectives through short-term ideas




What are some ways to manage through short-term and intermediate-term risks such as inflation, stagflation, and geopolitical flare-ups? We highlight our best investment thinking globally to help investors be dynamic even while maintaining discipline.

Discovering how to make your impact




Explore the journey to building and implementing an impact allocation with a panel of global not for profit investing experts.


Meet our specialists

Paul Fleming

Paul Fleming

Head of Not for Profit, Investment Solutions, UK

Cameron Taylor

Rebekah Dunn

Head of Endowments and Foundations, Pacific

Gilles Lavoie

Gilles Lavoie

Not for Profit investment consultant, Canada

Yaser Z. AbuShaban

Yaser Z. AbuShaban

Principal Consultant and Senior Investment Advisor

Texas Hemmaplardh

Texas Hemmaplardh

Co-Head of US Endowments, Pavilion, a Mercer practice

Amit Popat

Amit Popat

Head of Not for Profit, Europe and IMETA



How can I reduce the costs of my investments?


We believe our global assets under advice (USD$16trn) and assets under delegated management (USD$379bn+), combined with our fund manager working relationships, allow us to secure attractive investment management fees for our clients. In addition, our implementation fees are independent to the underlying third-party providers. We believe this is an area where we can add significant value.


Data as at 31 March 2021


Are investment solutions more expensive for investors?


Our solutions management fees are independent to the underlying third-party providers. Mercer’s size (USD$348.4bn+ in assets and largest OCIO provider globally according to ai-CIO and the global P&I survey1) helps us negotiate potentially reduced third-party fees and seek savings for our clients. Importantly, we pass all savings back to our clients and are transparent on the fees and costs incurred. We have access to cutting edge, innovative strategies as we have arms’ length relationships with the world’s top fund managers. Importantly, our scale with now over USD$379bn+ in2 assets under management helps us negotiate competitive fee rates from investment managers, which we pass directly onto our clients. Mercer does not receive any revenues or commissions from the underlying investment managers in our portfolios. Our investment advice will always be based solely on achieving your long-term objectives.


1This data was compiled by Mercer from ai-CIO 2021 Outsourced Chief Investment Officer Survey with data as of 31/12/20. Ai‑CIO 2021 Outsourced Chief Investment Officer Survey, worldwide full discretionary assets under management as of 31 December 2020 as reported by each firm to ai‑CIO.


2Data as at 31 March 2021.


Does Mercer have capabilities in alternatives and private markets?


Mercer has been providing specialist alternatives and private markets and investment advice for over 25 years and we have, globally, more than 200 dedicated alternatives professionals within our Private Markets team.1


We advise on USD$160bn2 and have implemented USD$22bn2 of alternatives and private market assets. In our view, our scale, combined with the experience of the team, and the relationships we have established with high quality private market managers over the years, means we are well-placed to deliver advice on alternatives and private market portfolios.


1This data as at 01 April 2021.


2Assets Under Management and Assets Under Advisement as of 30 June 2020. Please see Important Notices for important information about Assets under Management and Assets under Advisement. Private markets assets based on committed capital. Hedge funds and other alternative assets based on Net Asset Value (NAV). Dollar amounts in USD. Excludes fee compliance assets. Due to rounding, totals provided may not precisely reflect the absolute figures.


How can I be prepared for market turmoil like that brought by COVID-19?


Our research and strategy team, who number more than 200, are closely monitoring both our universe of rated managers and the wider financial markets to produce insightful and timely white papers to help clients navigate these markets. Recent examples include a paper about the investment implications of COVID-19 on alternative assets and another revising the role of a hedge fund allocation in the current uncertain environment. We host weekly webinars to inform clients about our latest views as the situation rapidly evolves. Our research and strategy colleagues are also available to talk to clients on how the crisis is impacting their respective field of expertise. We are keeping very close to our clients, with frequent contact, by phone, email and zoom conference calls.


Data as of 31 March 2021.


What is Mercer’s approach to sustainable investing?


We have a dedicated team of 24 responsible investment specialists globally, advising investors on all aspects of ESG. This team has been in place since 2004, when Mercer was the first global investment consultant firm to do so – by more than a decade. We provide responsible investment support to Not for Profits to help protect your reputation, enhance your governance, inspire and engage your staff and improve long‑term returns.


Data as at 31 December 2020.


This could involve integration of ESG issues in the investment process, identifying sustainability themes that drive long-term investment risk considerations, putting specific social or health care issues at the forefront of the foundation’s portfolio, as well as promoting active ownership (both voting and engagement and recognising the value of the UK Stewardship Code). Given our depth of resource and expertise, we provide market leading advice. We have helped clients implement exclusionary approaches (where required), develop policies that allow a public engagement approach to be taken. We also help devise more discrete processes that involve collaboration on important issues with other investors/industry bodies to ensure engagement on important issues without direct public attention. However you choose to implement your aims we will be able to assist you.


Mercer’s ESG beliefs and the Sustainable Investment Policy, (Sustainable Investment Policy), support Mercer’s own commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).


What is Mercer’s approach to diversity and inclusion in investing?


We consider a commitment to diversity and inclusion to be part of our social responsibility. Diversity is one of our core values, and our diversity efforts centre on our commitment to our employees, clients and the communities in which we work. Our Environmental, Social & Governance Committee is ultimately responsible for diversity and inclusion, including monitoring and reporting on it.

Speak to a Mercer consultant

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