We reached out to Frank Doherty and asked him to tell us a little bit about himself, and the journey Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish has been on that brought them to infoodle, and having infoodle become a support and service backbone for their parishioners and supporters.
My name is Frank Doherty and I am the Office Administrator for the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish in Wellington, New Zealand. I have been in this role since 3 Dec 2012. As Office Administrator I am often the first point of contact that people have with our organisation and I provide administrative, financial and communications support services to ensure the effective operation of the Parish in respect of itself and as a member of the Wellington Central Pastoral Area and Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington.
Q. Why did you start looking for a database tool?
A. Our existing solution was reaching End of Life
When I started in this position our parish was using a local server-based program. The software was sufficient for our needs at the time but very limited in functionality. As time progressed the level of support and product development was becoming less and less of a `priority for the provider company. A couple of years ago the software was barely being maintained, was costing a lot to maintain dedicated servers for the members of our organisation to access and it required remote access software to connect to it. Basically, it was at Eol. About this time our faith community was looking at starting a fundraising drive and as such we needed a system that could provide a modern CRM style database.
Time was against us and we were "rushed" into using a product that turned out to be less than satisfactory for our needs and had a number of serious software bugs that failed to be addressed in a timely manner by the developers. It was at that stage that I decided to do my own research into suitable alternatives.
I contacted different organisations who worked in a similar sector to ourselves and very quickly was able to narrow my shortlist down until infoodle was the number one possibility.
To replace our existing software, we needed something that had both CRM and Finance packages. Obviously the first task was to get our data from our existing system transferred over to infoodle.
The team at infoodle took the lead and as soon as we sorted out the methodology and the time it may take, we planned for the transition. Initially there was quite a steep learning curve however I never felt alone in that journey as the support team at infoodle were and are so available that I often had answers to my questions within an hour. This level of support combined with the online resources (online help centre, training videos and regular webinar type training sessions) meant I was able to move ahead with infoodle with the minimum of disruption to my usual routine.
I am using infoodle to manage the following:
Our database of parishioners. Active 750 approx., Archived 250 approx.
People with special pastoral needs.
Keeping records of visits to the sick and housebound.
Special messages to our younger volunteers on their birthday.
Our planned giving and special collection donations (using envelope numbers).
Significant fundraising project
Volunteer Group involvements and communicating on a group by group basis where necessary.
Donations by credit card (via stripe) and the associated website donation scripts.
Using the infoodle app.
Having all this information accessible from within one shared database is far more efficient individually and collectively. Also, it being cloud based means that those authorised to do so can access the information from anywhere their device can access the internet. We have a staff of 6 who currently have access to infoodle.
Whilst we have been using infoodle for less than a year we have found significant improvement in the usability of our parish database. I am training our other staff how to use infoodle as well as offering it as a potential solution to many of my colleagues from around the country who may be facing similar database needs.
Having a database that is capable of holding many types of information linked to each person enables us to have a more holistic understanding of the people we serve, their involvement and their needs. The ability of infoodle to integrate with Xero also enables us to use the excellent reporting and receipting abilities to manage our donors' financial records.
lnfoodle has provided us with a flexible support and service backbone for our parishioners and supporters where we can have fast and comprehensive information at our fingertips and all in one place. No more using multiple databases for each type of information. As our information database needs change infoodle is right there listening, supporting, developing and teaching. I still have much to learn about infoodle's capabilities which is why I really appreciate that the team at infoodle have put the word "serve" back into service. My only regret is that I didn't find infoodle earlier.