Dealing with currency exchange carries a lot of risk. It can provide excellent opportunities to make a lot of money but at the same time is offset by the potential to lose out on a lot as well. This is especially true when dealing with emerging markets that possess a lot of volatility.
As an NGO you will want to minimise the risk involved as much as possible. Your main aim will be to get the money put towards the specific good cause and not lost in exchange fees. In currency exchange there is always a certain amount of money lost so it is vital you have a good strategy in place for reducing this as much as possible.
Identify the problems
The main problem is that for banks all their clients are the same. They do not take into account that NGOs will be involved in currency exchange for charitable reasons and not as a moneymaking scheme. Even if the NGO is dealing with millions each year.
Receiving large donations from people or organisations from abroad can cause your NGO to lose out when transferring money across too. While dealing with currency in an emerging market hold all sorts of risks due to potentially high inflation and interest rates.
Adopt good practice
It is important to always hold some hard currency as this will reduce the risk from market volatility, and mixed with soft currency increases your flexibility. Keep an up to date record and analysis of all your trades to learn from them and help plan for the future.
Where appropriate be sure to inform your donors of the strategy and any potential problems you have with currency exchange. Hopefully they will be willing to help out in any way possible, such as spending at the best times and adapting donations based on current rates.
Use charitable currency brokers
As mentioned, banks usually treat all their customers the same no matter what they are and how much they spend each month or year. Finding and using a company that is kind to charities and NGOs for currency exchange, such as Ebury Partners, should put you in good stead.
With a bit of searching it can be easy to find an option for currency exchange where you do not lose out on a lot of money in the exchange. Remember that your NGO is working for the good of others and not the banks.