Are the best-known charities missing out on £0.25m a year in interest?

Recent research by Third Sector has indicated that the most prominent charities in the UK keep on average (mean) reserves of £23.3m. The research, carried out among 157 charities, suggests that this equates to almost four months’ of expenditure sitting in their bank account. Keeping reserves is very important for a healthily run charity – but how do you make the most of this money?

Our experience, from speaking to many charities over the past six months, is that they do very little to maximise income from their reserves – largely because of the hassle of selecting and changing banks. On the whole, money stays in accounts where the return is at best 0.1% but mostly 0%.

This was the exact problem that Akoni founder, Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, encountered when she was Finance Director in the insurance industry.

“We became frustrated that UK banks weren’t rewarding the cash held in accounts. So we tapped into the power of technology to generate better returns on cash holdings.”

And so Akoni was born. With the Akoni platform you can access and open multiple accounts just by opening one hub account. And with market leading interest rates on offer, from a number of partner banks, it’s simple to manage multiple accounts and increase returns without the usual hassle.

Our research shows that on average charities can make 11x more interest by creating a cash portfolio with Akoni. Assuming the 157 charities in the Third Sector research received 0.1% interest rate (on an average reserve of £23.3m), using Akoni could see their cash returns grow from £23,300 to £256,300 – a significant amount for any size of charity.

Please feel free to get in touch with me at if you’d like to find out how Akoni Hub can help your nonprofit to maximise your cash.

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Investment growth for charities – but potential for higher earnings from cash deposits!

Charity Financials recently published Charity Income Spotlight report makes for interesting and positive reading, highlighting the significant growth in investment income that charities are enjoying. It states that income from investments among the top 5,000 charities increased 6% year on year, with total investments among this group now worth £3.29bn, £600m more than in 2008.

Making money working harder in this way creates a very valuable income stream for charities, generating valuable unrestricted funds to further an organisation’s mission.

But our insight is that charities can do even more.

Judging by the charities we have spoken with over the past months, investment money is one part of the portfolio and cash deposits are a separate, and mostly neglected, part. Charities need to keep cash in the bank – as reserves, committed project funding, for operating expenditure – and this is where greater income can be generated.

Our insight suggests that charities could raise at least 10x more from cash deposits in banks – based on a split portfolio that includes instant access accounts. This equates to in the region of £60,000/yr on a £5m cash deposit – it would take 1,000 supporters giving £5/month for a year to raise that!

But how?

With Akoni’s digital cash management platform you can find the best rates (suited to your term and risk requirements), open accounts and manage your cash across multiple accounts in a couple of clicks without the paperwork.

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Time is Money

A quick google search tells me that the phrase ‘Time is Money’ is credited to Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, who of course now appears on the $100 bill. He first used the phrase in his 1748 essay ‘Advice to a Young Tradesman’.

Nowadays it seems fairly obvious that time is money… in our daily working lives we’re encouraged to think like that – how much did this advertising campaign cost? What’s the return on investment? What is the transactional cost of administering x, y and z?

Over the past few months I’ve spoken to a number of charities about how they run their operations and finance, and when introducing Akoni we’ve talked about how they manage their cash. The common response I’ve had is ‘our cash sits in a bank, we don’t get much (if any) interest; the hassle and transactional cost of managing cash isn’t worth the returns’.

Benjamin Franklin would agree with this logic.

But time is variable… if you can reduce the time taken to do something, then it might be time for a different approach. Time taken to manage cash is one of the problems that Akoni solves.

Our innovative platform means you can move cash to higher yielding accounts without hassle, working on both sides of the time and money equation. The transactional cost is taken away and your returns are increased. So with not much time you could make more money.

It is innovation like this that changes the way charities (and businesses) work… challenging assumptions that things (like managing cash deposits) take too long or aren’t worth doing. Akoni are helping charities to innovate and access cash returns they’re missing out on.

As one of the great innovators of the 18th century, we think Benjamin Franklin would agree.

Please feel free to get in touch with me at if you’d like to find out how Akoni can help your nonprofit to reduce the time and hassle it takes to maximise your cash.

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Can charities look at other areas of their organisation to generate more income?

I’ve spent the best part of the last twenty years working in charities. Most of this time, except for the last three years where I’ve been CEO of a charity (and still am part time), has been focused on fundraising – bringing in money so that each of the charities could further their mission.

I have first-hand experience of how difficult it is to generate income year after year. How challenging it is to think of the next fundraising idea… I still love this challenge. In the past month I’ve started a new job which has opened my eyes to new areas of potential income for charities.

I’ve just started to work at Akoni Hub – this blog post is on the Akoni Hub site so you might have guessed that. Akoni is a fintech business founded by one of the Trustees of the charity where I am also CEO. When I first heard about Akoni’s offering I immediately recognised the huge benefits it could have for the nonprofit sector.

Using Akoni’s innovative, digital cash management platform, charities, and in fact all businesses, can find the best interest rates for their risk and term requirements and spend the extra earnings on things that matter. All at the click of a button – without having to set up multiple bank accounts.

This video sums up the simplicity and the effectiveness of the platform.

So I guess this is fundraising. But it’s a different kind of fundraising – it’s hassle free. It can be planned to your requirements. It utilises resources (cash in bank) which are not bringing in income. It’s guaranteed. Making your cash (think of those reserves in the bank!) work harder for you could be the easiest fundraising in your portfolio.

I’ll be updating this blog regularly over the coming months with news, views and insights. Please feel free to get in touch with me at if you’d like to find out how Akoni Hub can help your nonprofit to maximise your cash.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at and follow us on Twitter