Charities can save millions on bank fees and rates, shows new publication on foreign exchange procurement

8th February 2011

The Charity Finance Directors’ Group (CFDG) and Stamp Out Poverty have released Better FX, a best practice publication aimed at helping charities save money through improving their foreign exchange procurement practices.

The publication builds on Stamp Out Poverty’s previous work Missing Millions, which identified potential sector-wide savings of £20-50 million if charities introduced competitive tender and improved processes when procuring foreign currency. Better FX moves from the theoretical to the practical, by outlining steps charities can take to help make these savings.

In the period since Missing Millions was released, many charities have started to review and improve their foreign exchange procurement practices which has, in the majority of cases, resulted in substantial material savings. Better FX includes nine case studies of UK registered charities of varying size and structure, including Oxfam, Build Africa and War on Want, who have all proactively reviewed and transformed how they purchase foreign currency. While the varied experiences of the different charities shows that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that can be adopted, the case studies detail useful lessons learned and steps that can be used by others.

Better FX also harnesses the expertise of the financial sector and includes articles on key foreign exchange subject areas, including FX risk, hedging and accounting. The articles, written by contributors from INTL Global Currencies, Lloyds TSB Commercial and Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP amongst others, provide a practical toolkit which charities can use as a valuable source of information.

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of CFDG, commented:

‘We are delighted to be part of this hugely important work. As the case studies in Better FX demonstrate, the potential savings from improving procurement processes are not simply hypothetical. Many charities are implementing changes and making significant material savings when purchasing currency, allowing them to channel more of their valuable funds to projects abroad.'

‘You don't need to be a large organisation with extensive resources or highly specialist knowledge to save money. The information and advice in Better FX can be utilised for the benefit of any charity – big or small – that sends funds overseas.'

David Hillman, Director, Stamp Out Poverty, commented:

'Rather than a heavy report, it's best to think of this as a toolkit - a quick way to learn how your organisation might save itself a tidy sum each year. The case studies are really useful; tips from similar-sized charities who have already made changes and seen savings are particularly instructive.'

The ultimate objective of Better FX is to ensure that the sector, as a whole, is armed with the knowledge required to make sure that every penny granted or donated by governments or individuals, makes the maximum impact in the places in the world where these funds are intended.

1. To download a copy of Better FX, click here.

2. CFDG is the charity that promotes best practice in charity finance management, supporting finance managers with conferences, training and a wealth of web-based information. CFDG’s circa 1,700 members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Between them our members manage some £21.75bn in charity income per year. For further information please contact Melora Jezierska at or on 020 7250 8348.

3. Stamp Out Poverty is a network of more than 40 organisations including some of the UK’s leading charities including Oxfam, Christian Aid, Save the Children and War on Want, working on ways to bridge the funding gap required to meet the Millennium Development Goals. It is one of the founding members of the popular Robin Hood Tax campaign. For more information, please see

4. Better FX has been kindly sponsored by INTL Global Currencies and Lloyds TSB Commercial.


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