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Putting our money where their mouth is: alignment of charitable aims with charity investments – tensions in policy and practice

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>British Accounting Review
Issue number3
Volume41
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)154-168
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Given the values-driven nature of the mission of most charities, it might be expected that investment behaviour would be similarly values-driven. This paper documents the ethical investment policies and practices of the largest UK charities and explores how these are aligned with the charitable aims, drawing upon accountability, behavioural and managerial perspectives as theoretical lenses. The study employs two distinct research methods: responses to a postal questionnaire and follow-up semi-structured interviews with selected charities. The evidence indicates that a significant minority of large charities do not have a written ethical investment policy. Charities with larger investments, fundraising charities and religious charities were more likely to have a written ethical policy. We suggest that there is a pressing need for improved alignment between charities' aims and their investment practices and better monitoring of investment policies.