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Dignity Freedom Network brings hope and empowers the vulnerable people of India by providing access to education, healthcare and vocational training with the assistance of infoodle CRM.

We interviewed Jonathan Rodwell, Executive Director of Dignity Freedom Network (DFN), an Australian based charity, also represented in New Zealand, working with Dalits in India. Dalits are considered the “outcasts” of Indian society, the “untouchables”. Dalits comprise nearly one-third of the population, a massive 250-300 million men, women and children. They are denied basic human rights and are shackled to a system which gives them no freedoms. DFN is committed to freeing the Dalits from a life of poverty, exploitation and slavery through Education, Advocacy, Healthcare and Economic Empowerment.

What drove you to infoodle?

If you’re not going to have a database to stay in touch with your donors you’re mad, you’re asking to fail at the very beginning, in my opinion. Both my wife Kate and I have a background in Business and Christian Missions, so when we started DFN we wanted a good database right from the beginning. If you want to be able to stay in touch with people, have some records of them, make notes and all the other things that we’re able to do, a database of some type is essential

How did you hear about infoodle?

I went and did my own survey and rang guys I knew who worked in non for profits and asked ‘what are you using?’ and a couple of them said infoodle, so I said okay and did some research into it, and that’s how I stumbled upon you guys. I talked to Richard and we hit it off, he obviously thought it’s quite cute what we’re doing.

Were there any specific things that you needed the database to achieve?

We have been with you for over 3 years now, I had previously used Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge, now that is like the Lamborghini of software packages and it comes with a Lamborghini price. To be quite honest, it’s okay but it just hasn’t changed with the times, and I could never send an email attachment out when I did an email blast. I’m not a programmer but I get the strong impression infoodle is written in a way that allows greater flexibility than Blackbaud, at least back then. And so just like Xero and all the cool products that are around, you’ve got to be nimble and adapt quickly in this world in which we live. And I love that about infoodle.

For the first year and a half when we had a problem we would just call Richard and he’d fix it while we chatted. So one of the things infoodle didn’t have was child sponsorship capacity and we got into child sponsorship straight away. We’d never been involved with that before, so we had no idea what we were doing, but together with other very smart people in this office we worked it out and Richard was fantastic at saying “you know what else we could do, this, this and this” so you ask me now, if you guys didn’t have a child sponsorship capacity now we’d probably leave, so that is a critical thing for us now.

You came to infoodle right from the beginning, but If you could imagine not having infoodle and using spreadsheets or other written documents, how do you think it would compare time wise or people resource wise?

Just hugely, it is just obvious that if we were operating off spreadsheets you’d be having almost another whole person, we’ve never done the sums on it but we would be a lot less efficient.

Now while I think of it, you know what else is great? I tell you what we probably have a couple of hundred groups in infoodle and they are fantastic! Let’s just take NZ for instance, we break people down by the regions Auckland, Wellington etc. and then put them in by churches and put them in by a whole range of things. Let’s say we’ve got something happening somewhere, you can specifically target people in that area and that’s a powerful thing, and that’s good business when you can do that.

Are there any day to day tasks that you use infoodle for that you haven’t already mentioned?

Everyone’s giving is recorded in infoodle, all our sponsors, donors, all their giving has to be very accurately entered into infoodle, it’s the only place we really keep it. So we use Xero for our finances etc.. all our expenses are in Xero and obviously just the general gross income is in Xero but when we break it down into individuals it’s all kept in infoodle so it’s vital that our codes in infoodle are really well thought through and the data is then entered correctly because we issue tax deductible receipts in infoodle.

How do you find the integration with Xero?

Any product out there that’s going to stay in the market now must have this capacity now or else they are a dead duck.

How many people are logging into infoodle on a day to day basis?

We have 5 that really use it and we probably have a second tier below that to go in and look, but not change anything.

What do some of your team say about infoodle?

Alyson: I really, really like the fact that I can make custom fields and I’ve done a lot in that, a lot of our child sponsorship is based around that, I have never been able to do that with another database so that’s really great to be able to have that input. And I still do that as we grow and change, that’s really great.

And the help that you guys give is really really good as well. I can send an email and get an answer really quickly and a really good answer. As mentioned before infoodle is able to adapt to our needs. Because we’re growing and evolving ourselves as we move forward and try stuff, infoodle has up to this point been able to adapt to exactly what we need which has been really good.

Would you recommend infoodle to others?

I think I’ve spoken with two companies that you guys have asked me to be a referee for you, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I’m a strong infoodle advocate to anyone when the subject comes up. I would just say we have a great product, I think it’s reasonably priced, it’s flexible, it does this this this so… yeah!

Images and text featured in this post have been kindly provided by DFN

Dignity Freedom Network (DFN)

is a group of Australians and New Zealanders joining hands with an international network of people who care about India’s oppressed. Their desire is to see marginalised people set free through education and empowerment.

To learn more, visit their website here.

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