I do a lot of investing (not as a professional) for a number of charitable organizations and have done quite nicely with CDs. The thinking with those kinds of funds is that I would rather explain to the BOD that we only earned xxx percentage instead of losing nnn principal. This was the case during the last 5 years when laddering CDs has returned ~5% with no losses to principal when we know what happened to stock market investments. Timing is everything. When the stock market is humming and money is going that direction this is the time to funnel funds into safer CDs which have to increase rates to compete. Right now CDs aren't paying much, even long term (5 yrs etc). We don't know what kind of risk or what kind of returns you are expecting so it is hard to answer what investment vehicle is best for you. For example, I watch interest rates daily. Currently I have personal investments in REITs (check out CIM where I'm earning pretty close to 16% in dividends).
Depending on how much you have to invest, brokerage CDs often pay more than the street price and may be an area for you to explore.
From the tone of your post you probably should seek out professional investment advice. Ask your friends, family to steer you to someone they've worked with and trust. It doesn't have to cost you much, but there are a lot of investment pitfalls out there you want to avoid.