Case study: How Christian Blind Mission use cash and risk management solutions to ensure donations go further

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1 June 2016

Written by
Kasia Holody

Marketing Executive at Ebury and London School of Economics graduate.

Background

Christian Blind Mission (CBM) are a charity headquartered in Germany. They have a number of satellite offices, known as Member Associations (MAs), which are responsible for fundraising in various G10 countries to support projects and engagements within the developing world.

CBM used a tier 1 bank to collect funds at their head office. The bank provided accounts, assisted in hedging the funds and helped deliver the funds to the head office throughout the year.

Additionally, CBM used the bank and a foreign exchange provider to make payments to their international projects and engagements.

Challenges

Through partnership with Ebury, CBM realised a number of issues regarding the service received from their bank:

  • Foreign exchange fees were being applied twice. Once when moving funds from the fundraising entities to head office and again when moved from there to their international programmes.
  • The payment process was fragmented and operationally intensive. Instructing payments, moving funds, reconciliation and reporting were all cumbersome.
  • The hedges placed still left the organisation exposed to currency risk, as the rate of the Euro versus project currencies was left unprotected.
  • The accounts provided were normal bank accounts, meaning their funds were at risk if that bank’s credit was significantly stressed, to the point of default.

Results

First and foremost, the dedicated charities team at Ebury set out to provide a structure for CBM that facilitated a Straight Through Processing model for their payments.

This included collecting funds directly from the fundraising offices and delivering them directly to the intended project overseas. Providing this structure involved the provision of Trust Accounts, thus safeguarding CBM’s funds in the event of a default, either by Ebury of Barclays.

Ebury also provided CBM with more efficient ways of instructing and making payments, as well as delivering detailed reporting and analytics back to CBM.

Finally, Ebury assisted CBM and their nine MAs in drafting corporate treasury policies that focused specifically on hedging currency risk and enabled CBM to set up everything they needed to place hedges.

Benefits

Reduced costs

CBM now only pays for one foreign exchange transaction as opposed to two – plus, Ebury does not charge for account maintenance or making payments. This has had tangible impact for CBM’s beneficiaries, as more money gets to where it’s needed.

Straight Through Processing

Ebury’s payment infrastructure is integrated into CBM’s systems and processes, helping payments to move seamlessly from initiation to execution.

Reporting and reconciliation

As part of the solution, Ebury now provides CBM with detailed reporting on each account, payment status and the rates received, which assists with reconciliation of funds to CBM’s internal systems.

Reduced currency risk

The account structure enables hedging directly from the fundraising currency into the local project currency. CBM now has full visibility into their budget planning and cost structure.

Resolution

Ebury provides a dedicated Single Point of Contact to CBM to deal with any queries around payments or technical issues. This has significantly reduced their operational costs.

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