Client spotlight: Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
Welcome to the Flo2Cash client spotlight series. In this edition, we interviewed Zebedee Stone, Fundraising and Marketing Director with Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Zeb is hands down one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” my Managing Director tells me.
I’ve met a lot of people in my time, and she was absolutely right.
Zeb’s easy-going nature paved the way for a conversation that flowed well.
It was easy to see his drive for social justice, sincere appreciation for the team, and genuine excitement for the projects that Amnesty International is currently undertaking. It was contagious.
This is why we work with the people that we do.
Flo2Cash is humbled and proud to work with incredible not-for-profits and charitable organisations of all sizes. As experts in payment processing, we’re thrilled to be part of so many journeys - from processing donations and recurring payments, to safeguarding data and helping protect people.
We support organisations in their support of others - so that they can continue to do what they do best: be agents of change and a force for social good.
Read on to find out how Flo2Cash and Amnesty International help each other grow - and how we can help your organisation, too.
In your own words, could you tell me about Amnesty International?
Amnesty International is a global movement that operates all around the world to protect human rights.
Our section here in Aotearoa New Zealand focuses particularly on issues local to New Zealand, but also in the wider Asia Pacific region. We work predominantly on the key human rights topics in our backyard, as well as contributing to Amnesty International’s global campaigns.
How long have you been part of the Amnesty International team?
It’s been about 2.5 years now. For me, it’s really nice to be back. I actually started my fundraising career with Amnesty on the streets doing fundraising. A long time ago! So it’s inspiring to see how far the team and the organisation have come.
Also seeing the growth of the global movement has been amazing. Last year we ticked over 10 million supporters, which is pretty awesome! It’s a huge impact when you have that many people speaking up on behalf of others. So that’s really cool.
That’s a lot of supporters - absolutely spectacular. In relation to that, what are the major projects that you and your team are working on at the moment?
Absolutely! Last year was really big for our section. It was the first time we ever released a globally-accredited research report from Aotearoa New Zealand. Amnesty International is really respected for highly critical, thorough research, and it goes through quite a big and extensive process to maintain this high standard. But we, for the first time, did our own detailed research on a local issue: the treatment of people seeking asylum in New Zealand.
Essentially, some really shocking things had come to our attention that people who were fleeing war zones and persecution, or otherwise fearing for their lives, were making it to New Zealand, which in itself is quite a feat because we’re obviously far away, then for many of them, they were being put into prison while their asylum claim was being processed. It’s appalling treatment for people who are already traumatised.
We found that in many cases they were not being able to put forward their claim for asylum and find a safe place in New Zealand, which is a basic human right - to claim asylum in a safe place.
The research is quite a process as well. You’ve got to go through all the evidence to compile a report like this. But we uncovered some really appalling treatment of these refugees and asylum seekers who were coming here.
Off the back of this research we found we really need to fix this – what was happening would shock Kiwis to know we were treating vulnerable people like this. So we undertook some dedicated campaigning and action that had some really good results, including a ministerial review, which is happening now.
But we want the practice ended, and so do most Kiwis who hear about it. That’s something we’re continuing to work pretty hard on.
We’re also feeding into some of our global campaigns. A big one at the end of last year that we do every December, around Human Rights Day, is called Write for Rights.
It’s a global campaign and we have Amnesty International supporters around the world come together to literally do what we started with - writing letters to put pressure on governments and decision makers around the world to protect human rights defenders and people who are standing up for all of us. So that was really cool.
That’s absolutely right. So, in your role, and from your experience over 2.5 years, what’s the best aspect about being part of Amnesty International?
It’s absolutely the culture. The fact that everyone is here because of the really strong social justice values that we all share. The wanting to make a difference, contribute, leave a positive mark on the world, AND tackle some of the really complex issues that we face. Because of that, we have a strong team. We have a wonderful culture and our people work incredibly well together and support each other.
I think that’s something even stronger now than it was all those years ago when I was with the team. It’s been there throughout, not just for me, but something that I think has characterised the movement.
Amnesty International has been around for 60 years. When you’re dealing with really tough issues for so long, you have to hang in there together and support each other through it. Because it’s a big part of us - continuing to fight the good fight. You have to make sure you’re supporting each other.
A supportive culture is absolutely necessary. Speaking of support, what are your main reasons for using a payments platform?
It’s certainly before my time when Flo2Cash first got implemented, but I know a big part was when we had our last website development.
It was about really integrating a system that could seamlessly take payments and connect up in terms of that supporter data and make sure it was handled in the most secure way.
Flo2Cash helped Amnesty take a big step forward and that was quite a few years ago now. Just last year we kicked off a new project to really revitalise and refresh our digital space. That’s also including the way in which we encourage people to support and donate.
That’s why we’re really excited to be working again with Flo2Cash. Our thinking is, how do we make this even bigger, how do we show this as a real shining example, or a good case study of what we can do in the digital space?
We realised, this is a chance for us to show how powerful our system can be, and also how effective it can be in terms of really having a streamlined, simple and engaging interaction with our supporters.
Some great functionality that Flo2Cash has in terms of being able to not just do the payment processing but also build it and link it into the website. That’s what we’re really excited to be doing with this new project.
I’m excited for you! How is Flo2Cash fulfilling your organisation’s needs and helping overcome any pain points?
There are a few aspects to that - I think one that’s really come to mind with anything in the online space is about security. That’s what I really appreciate with Flo2Cash. They have security front of mind, in terms of really strict compliance and PCI* and some of the other standards to make sure our systems are secure. There’s some good oversight there too in terms of discussing issues around how to make sure we’re as secure as possible.
The other piece to it is the more front-facing side, in terms of how engaging and simple and easy our site is for supporters to use.
That’s in particular with this new website redevelopment we’re looking at, and working quite closely with how that actually looks and integrating it with the front-end of the site. We’re now starting to build some of the technical aspects of that.
That’s where the Flo2Cash team is really great, in terms of having the knowledge and capacity to support projects like these alongside our ongoing payment processing. Our data team work on the day-to-day with Flo2Cash in terms of the processing of our regular supporters' contributions. We’re working really well there that helps make things easy, but now we can see how we can try and make it even better.
*Author’s note: PCI stands for the Payment Card Industry. The PCI have the Data Security Standard (DSS) - a global standard in protecting payment card data. Read more in our article, PCI DSS compliance explained.
How were you first introduced to Flo2Cash?
Personally, it’s been one of the key payment providers throughout my career.
It’s almost synonymous with any well-known effective organisation. Many charities are using Flo2Cash. The odd occasion where I’ve seen other systems, it’s often that Flo2Cash is where they’ve ended up down the track (laughs).
For Amnesty, I’m not exactly sure when it happened but I’m pretty sure it was all about essentially being able to have a solution at scale.
That was one of the biggest considerations then, around wanting to really build up in terms of the number of people engaged and supporting our cause and being able to do that in a really streamlined way again.
This next phase is about how to get back and do more of that growing and building of the movement again.
We'll certainly be there to support your growth. In your experience, what’s it like to work with Flo2Cash? What’s the best part about working with the team / your team working with our team?
It’s really good! Certainly I've had a bit to do with our day-to-day contact. One of the great things about your team is you’re really responsive, especially when working through any issues.
A key part of a good payment processor is about that integration and how to get systems to talk to each other. We were on a database system that was a little less widely-used so that’s been really great working with the Flo2Cash team about how to integrate with that. And of course, helping us do what we can do in the most secure way.
It’s also around the compliance stuff - it’s easy for us to forget some of that as it’s going on in the background. It’s great to have people from your team say to us, “Yep, this is what you need to do - here’s your annual time to get across this,” and Flo2Cash makes it really easy to talk to and explain the complex world of finance compliance.
Then there’s more around some of the bigger strategic ideas to be thinking about - where do we go, developing our online platforms and how Flo2Cash can be a part of it and support that - so when we had our Digital Upgrade Appeal and project coming in the works, we did reach out to your team to say, “Hey, this is something we’re doing and as a key partner we’d love to continue working with you on this.”
And we were just really blown away by the support from Flo2Cash on that one.
And again, how can we make our work together even more streamlined and engaging on our new site.
Donate to Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
Donate to stand for human rights and help create a world based on kindness, justice and aroha.
Donate to Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand.
Take action on the campaign to end the imprisonment of people seeking asylum in New Zealand.
Add your name to the petition here.
Other ways to help
Find out the many other ways you can support or get involved by visiting their website or following Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand on social media.
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