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West Northumberland Food Bank improving cash flow and efficiency


Together we can make a difference

We asked Lesley Ferguson from West Northumberland Food Bank about their experience of moving over to Xero and infoodle.

In our last year we helped over 500 households and this number continues to grow as more families have found themselves in need of our assistance.

Tell us a little about yourselves

West Northumberland Food Bank is a charity established in 2013 and based in Hexham providing a safety net for people in hardship throughout the area. Through the collection and distribution of food donations and other household essentials alongside support with benefits and debt problems our aim is to help people get back on their feet. In the last year we have made over 3500 deliveries,  over 500 families, approx. 1250 people have received food parcels, almost 46% have never used a food bank before.

We have had a core base of regular and ad hoc monetary donors over the years but the majority of our donations came via food collection points at various locations throughout the area in which we provide services. Our accounting systems were spreadsheet based and therefore the process for gathering the data required to make Gift Aid claims was very manual and time consuming.

How has Covid-19 affected your work?

When Covid-19 hit in March 2020 everything changed for us and we had to completely change how we operated. At this time we saw a significant fall in food donations but thankfully also a big increase in monetary donations. The Gift Aid claim process became even more time consuming and put a lot of pressure on our already over stretched volunteers.  Often our Gift Aid claims were being made only 2 or 3 times a year. To continue to use spreadsheet based accounting systems was not sustainable and in early 2021 we started to use Xero. 

How has moving to Xero helped you?

At the same time we became aware of Infoodle and subscribed to the Gift Aid module.

After an initial migration process and setting up of all our contacts onto both Xero and infoodle we are now making regular monthly Gift Aid claims. We find it very easy to add new Gift Aid donors to the system and find the integration between Xero and infoodle excellent. 

Our monthly Gift Aid claim process has been reduced from hours of work down to a few minutes.

The submission goes directly to HMRC and we generally receive the funds in our bank within a week or two. It is very easy for us to run reports in Xero and reconcile these with Infoodle. 

Have there been any other savings?

It is helping us to budget more effectively and improve our cash flow position.

A lot of the donations we received during the Covid-19 lock down were made directly to our bank account and we did not have full details of the donors, if they were eligible for Gift Aid claims. We have been able to communicate with our supporters and successfully connected with a number of these unidentified donors and are now able to  sign them up to Gift Aid. 

infoodle is making it very easy for us to go back and claim Gift Aid for these earlier donations. We are considering the possibility of increasing our use of infoodle in the future to make use of the CRM functionality to maintain a members database and further improve how we interact with our supporters.

How have you found working with infoodle?

As we were new to both Xero and infoodle we did have some teething trouble as we got set up but throughout this the support from infoodle was excellent.

I am very happy to provide this testimonial for other charities looking for a review on using infoodle as we are delighted with infoodle and it will be even more useful to us now as we start to take online donations.


For more information on West Northumberland Food Bank, visit their website: