Like all Finance professionals, ChildFund New Zealand's CFO Janice Wong is happy to talk numbers. But today she tells us about a completely different set of numbers, Cryptocurrency, and how this online phenomenon can play a role in helping children be safe, healthy, educated and heard.
A highlight for me in my role as CFO at ChildFund, is that aside from my daily finance functions, I am able to and encouraged to seek out new opportunities that secure long-term financial security for our mission of helping children. It's future thinking, new ways of thinking, exploring different ideas and building new networks.
At ChildFund, we truly function as a high performing, transparent, progressive, innovative and caring team. Often, we operate like entrepreneurs.
This means I no longer see the silos within, that I have seen in past experiences, instead I see how we interweave our ideas, challenges, innovations as one cohort. Don’t get me wrong, we still have difference in opinions, but it’s coming from key principle of constructiveness, trust and continuous improvement loop which is where I see how we care about each other. We also care about our diversity, our gender mix (both leadership and Board ratio currently is 50-50 female) and we respect what each of us bring to the table.
A recent future thinking project I have led is investigating Blockchain technology and Cryptocurrency donations for not-for profit organisations and then, following a feedback and consultation process with our team and board, implementing it for ChildFund. Already we have regular giving coming in through Blockchain and it's exciting to think about what's to come.
Blockchain offers solutions to many financial problems, including identification and supply chain management, flow of funds and being able to accept NFTS (a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and video that are traded online). Additionally, there are many marketing opportunities with Blockchain, or a Crypto wallet for donations, around new target markets.
A growing group of New Zealanders have Cryptocurrency accounts, in my opinion this largely evolved from the gamer industry as many gamers are well used to the virtual world, and naturally purchasing digital assets with digital currency occurs, which can also happen in an anonymous manner.
ChildFund is only at infancy stage of exploring and dealing with Blockchain, we have the regular Cryptocurrency donations and are the nominated partner charity with a token/defi/swap launch service platform called Philanthropy Finance (PhiFiv2) which gives us leverage to explore Blockchain further. Watch this space in terms of what we want to achieve with NFTs and our Crypto wallet for donations.
By opening up new methods of giving, whether it be Crypto wallets or through strategic partnerships, like ones we have including AA Smartfuel and Supergenerous, embracing opportunities to be as digital as possible sets us apart from the traditional fundraising routes.
Another highlight in my role at ChildFund is our collaborative approach with our partners in our dedicated areas to support communities on their journey to self-reliance. In Finance, this means we work with in-country field teams to empower and train them on financial policies, pivot tables and reporting etc. In the long run the aim is that they can implement their own programmes and measure their own financial progress.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a list of records that are linked and can be managed by a peer-to-peer network therefore it is decentralised and is transparent through cryptographic hashing. An analogy is Google Doc or OneDrive file, when a document is created and shared, the document is distributed instead of copied or transferred. Everyone can access to the document at the same time.
What is cryptocurrency?
This is a currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography/blockchain algorithms to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions.
Why does ChildFund accept cryptocurrency?
ChildFund is committed to innovation and discovering new forms of income streams relevant to the market. We also found the charitable sector in New Zealand is relatively inexperienced with this channel and we therefore see this as a potential untapped market opportunity. Cryptocurrency holds several distinct advantages such as the ability to move money across borders faster, cheaper, and more securely. Cryptocurrency donations also have the ability to increase in value over time.
Are cryptocurrency donations anonymous?
Yes they can be anonymous, and we respect anonymity provided we meet the anti-money laundering criteria. However we do encourage donors to let us know their information so we can thank them and provide feedback on the impact their donations have created.
Is donating to ChildFund New Zealand safe and secure?
Yes, we shall convert cryptocurrency into fiat or traditional currency and remit overseas as soon as possible. This prevents theft of donation and a clear line of sight of conversion and remittance. A unique feature of cryptocurrency system is that all cryptocurrency transactions where funds flow from one’s wallet to another are publicly visible and available in a ledger, called the Blockchain.
What happens to the cryptocurrency once I've donated?
ChildFund will convert all cryptocurrency donations into fiat /USD/NZD. The donation will be used to help ChildFund programmes where needed most, unless otherwise specified.
Can I get a refund after I've donated cryptocurrency?
At ChildFund, we do not refund donations made in cryptocurrency. For more information, please contact us.
What about money laundering?
We seek advice from registered advisers should we receive major individual anonymous donations over a certain amount. We also have safeguards to monitor major donations, and we will keep monitoring the guidelines issued by FMA, IRD and other regulative bodies.