Savings

FOUR STEPS TO SMART SAVINGS FOR YOUR CHARITY

If you want to make the most of your funds, looking for ways to maximise what you earn on your savings is essential.

Your charity’s trustees and managers need to make your organisation's money work as hard as possible in order to support your beneficiaries.

Sensible cash management will add value and earn a little extra for your organisation from savings – particularly with interest rates at an historic low.

1. UNDERSTAND YOUR CASHFLOW

Charities often have peaks of spending and income. Take a long, hard look at the money coming in and going out to see the bigger picture. Think about:

  • How you would deal with potential emergencies: do you have a short-term account that gives you instant access to money if you need it in a hurry.
  • Your long-term goals: for example, are you building up a fund to pay for a particular project or goal?
  • Where you would keep any surplus balance.

By considering these points, you might be able to find ways to make this money work more effectively than if it was sitting in your bank account. So start planning what you could potentially do with it.

2. PLAN YOUR STRATEGY

Before you do anything, check to see if there’s anything in your governing documents or your reserves policy about what you can and can't do. For example, they might specify the minimum credit rating of a bank

Once you know the amounts you’re likely to have available, and for how long, you can look into accounts that can earn you more. You may need a spread of charity savings accounts that suit different time horizons or amounts. Options include investments or a deposit account to support long-term goals or an instant access account to pay bills in the short term.

3. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Review the market. Think about the structure of your charity; some accounts are only available to charities of a particular type, charitable status or size.

You might want to start with your existing bank – particularly if you have a relationship manager. Ask them what they can offer you. This gives you a good benchmark to compare with. You can also get some indications about the best charity savings accounts from online comparison websites.

Your goals will help you shortlist the type of account and approach you need, for example:

  • capital growth
  • income
  • protection of funds

Next rule out any that don't meet any special requirements that you have – for example:

  • a bank with an ethical approach
  • a minimum or fixed interest rate
  • a particular term
  • a small minimum deposit or a maximum balance
  • an account that allows you to add further deposits
  • an account that will give you access to your money, for a fee, in an emergency

Decide how proactive you want to be about managing your money:

  • Are you happy to take an introductory offer or bonus then move your money again when the deal’s over?
  • Do you want somewhere that consistently offers good rates (but not necessarily the best rates) to avoid having to change accounts regularly?

Check that your account management needs will be met too:

  • Does the account have dual authorisation safeguards?
  • Can you bank online, by phone or at a branch?
  • Are there any fees, charges or penalties for withdrawals or to manage the account?

By this point you should have a clear idea about which is the right account for your organisation. If you’re still not sure which account would suit your charity, talk to your advisers.

Going long term?

With inflation rising, to protect purchasing power over an extended period of time, longer-term reserves can be invested. This could offer you the potential for higher growth, but also has a higher risk.

If you can invest for 5 or more years, then talk to your independent financial adviser to understand what you need to consider. If you don’t have an independent financial adviser you can use a find an adviser tool.

Find out more about the benefits of investing.

4. REVIEW YOUR ARRANGEMENTS REGULARLY

You should review your financial strategy regularly to ensure you’re making the most of your charity’s funds.

If you’ve opened an account with a special or introductory offer, make sure you review it before the rate comes to an end. This gives you plenty of time if you decide to switch accounts.

Interest rates can change – as can your charity’s situation – so you need to monitor your accounts to make sure they still suit your needs.

Find out more about our range of savings accounts for charities.

CAF Bank Limited (CBL) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. CAF Financial Solutions Limited (CFSL) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Their registered office is 25 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4JQ (ME19 4TA for CFSL). Registered under number 1837656 and 2771873 respectively. CBL and CFSL are subsidiaries of Charities Aid Foundation (registered charity number 268369).