Knowledge Hub

Banking and financial services

Understanding the challenges of FX

How can a good foreign exchange management help your organisation? Naziar Hashemi from Crowe and Curtis Noble from, share their initial findings from the latest INGO FX Insights survey, shedding light on the FX challenges INGOs are now facing.



Back in 2020, none of us could have imagined the transformative change that would impact every part of our lives over the last two years.

At that time INGOs were grappling with the uncertainties of Brexit and the challenging funding environment, but since then there has been a pandemic, a cut in FCDO funding and the war in Ukraine.

Throughout each significant event, we witnessed the pivotal and important role that INGOs have in the global economic and humanitarian eco-system.

As organisations work to rebuild and forge ahead, despite continued uncertainty and change, there are opportunities to be explored as well as potential issues to prepare for and be mindful about.

It is vital that INGOs do not lose sight of the learnings and attempt to return to a normal that no longer exists.

Our INGO survey conducted earlier this year found that INGOs are facing an ongoing challenge in raising unrestricted funds which they consider as their most significant challenge.

With the continuing volatility in the financial markets and rising inflation in most G7 countries, it is interesting to note that 50% of respondents noted that managing foreign exchange (FX) volatility has been a challenge, but only 44% of respondents to our survey stated that their INGO has an official FX policy, whilst 55% stated that not having focused on this was due to other tasks having a higher priority.

Whilst 20% had managed to re-negotiate restricted funding agreements to absorb the volatility, 54% had absorbed these costs using unrestricted funds and 3% had to cut in-country delivery. Only 20% had utilised risk management tools such as forward contracts.

In July 2021, we published the INGO FX Insights Report 2021 to help INGOs better understand the issues impacting them. To gain an update on that report, we are running another annual survey to gauge whether any improvements have been made by INGOs in managing their FX risks and what lessons there may be for the sector as a whole.

As we noted on the publication of that report, FX has always been a difficult issue for INGOs to grapple with. Some are lucky enough to have sophisticated treasury functions but measuring the true costs and managing the risks from FX is critical for all, especially during these volatile and uncertain times.

We know that there are competing pressures and many INGOs lack the resources and expertise to develop their own FX policy and those that do are often overtaken by higher priority tasks.

These challenges make it more pertinent for INGOs to explore their options for better FX management.

Over the next few months, Crowe and will again release the annual survey and liaise with charity clients to publish the INGO FX Insights Report 2022.

With both firms investing further into this yearly initiative, we hope to be able to produce a holistic white paper to update the general narrative and highlight the challenges experienced when sending and receiving funds from overseas.

This year, our initiative will go one step further and are offering charity respondents with the opportunity to understand how their existing functions and processes map against similar sized peers.

We hope that our continued interest and resource will help the social sector achieve efficiency improvements, to enable greater overseas impact and to deliver more money to places in need.


If you have any questions or would like to discuss your foreign exchange challenges, please email Naziar Hashemi or Curtis Noble.


« Back to the Knowledge Hub