The original version of this blog was originally published on chsalliance.org.
On 16 November Mango (now Humentum) gathered approximately 70 finance professionals from the NGO sector to discuss treasury management practices in light of the current volatile economic and funding environment. The event was co-hosted by the CHS Alliance.
“It is quite challenging for NGOs to get cash out to the field nowadays,” said Steve Harvey, head of treasury advisory services at Save the Children International. “The sector is rapidly transitioning towards more and more cash programming while the banking sector is increasingly de-risking. With this workshop, we want to help the sector find ways to manage this divergence.”
Ashwin Ramji, global assistant treasurer at World Vision International, shared his change management experience, first with a bank rationalization project – consolidating to just eight banking providers – and second with the establishment of an active foreign exchange risk management solution. His team won awards for both approaches, with a Pinnacle Award in 2017.
“The shift from fulfilling a merely operational role to being a strategic enabler requires cash forecasting and knowing the needs of the rest of the organisation,” he said. “To get buy-in from your senior management, you need to use the cash flow to tell your compelling story.”
Annemarie Moore, group treasurer at Plan International, shared her practical experience of developing and improving cashflow forecasting and liquidity management.
Can INGOs nurture a good banking relationship? Steve argues that it is possible, despite the de-risking tendency in the banking sector. One of his tips is to choose your bank carefully and diversify banking relationships. Does your NGO still have only one domestic bank relationship? If so, it is time to look beyond that.
Foreign exchange volatility is a constant head breaker for finance professionals in the INGO sector. Andrew Derry, from Mango/Humentum, and until recently treasurer at Save the Children International, shared a set of practical tips to manage foreign exchange risk as robustly as possible.
What participants said they found most useful:
- Hearing from peers; having a platform to connect with other NGOs and exchange learning;
- Great ideas and practical solutions which we can now implement; I have learned a great deal that I will now pass on to my organisation;
- Technical points addressed with high profile and experienced experts; great speakers;
- The day went too quickly; it was an excellent learning opportunity; I thoroughly enjoyed the session, a productive day!
The presentations and other resources from this event can be found here.