Endowments funds - why the WLT doesn't have one
Why doesn't the World Land Trust (WLT) have an endowment fund? Endowment funds are set up to provide long-term sustainable income, usually to fund the core costs of running a charity. In order to do this, a fund of several million pounds would be needed, particularly at a time when interests are at an all time low.
At the World Land Trust we believe that the crisis for the world's wildlife is so serious that to tie up several million pounds that could be used to buy land would be not only wrong, but possibly irresponsible.
Of course if someone was generous enough to give us several million pounds (or dollars or Euros or yen) specifically for creating an endowment, we would be legally obliged to accept under those conditions. But the view was iterated by all of our partner organisations at the symposium where we all met in Belize last year: time is not on our side, the best investment any conservationist can make is land. Its price is increasing faster than almost any (legal) investment that can be identified on the money markets, so it makes no sense whatsoever to hoard money when we can fund land purchase.
So unlike many other conservation groups we do not have huge investments. At any one time we may have money in the bank, but that is because sometimes it takes several months or even a couple of years to complete a land purchase.
When you are checking out a charity, it's not a bad thing if they have endowments and long-term investments, but thought should always be given as to what their priorities are. If it's saving endangered species, then act NOW.