It’s our business to make Nandri work!
In Nandri, we believe that it is very important for our Donors to understand how our charity works, how it benefits our families and where their money is being utilised. The tightly organised day to day running of our charity is key to its success. The CEO of our partner organisation in India once said to me “Fred this is not a business it’s a charity”. I answered that unless we run it like a business with professional procedures and systems then it will not prosper.
We implemented Salesforce, one of the best corporate CRM systems in the world, and a number of user licenses were made available to us free of charge by the company. We are extremely grateful to Salesforce. It has enabled us to manage the records we have on thousands of our Nandri mothers in our non profit.
In January 2012 we started a micro finance programme to give a loan to a mother to buy a cow or other income generating asset. The mother can repay a loan within two years and all repayments are immediately re-loaned to another needy mother in the group.
In 2013 we realised that many of our children were dropping out of education at 17 or 18 years of age. We then started to give them loans to go to college. This immediately doubled the number of our children who go to 3rd level, as many families could not previously afford the upfront fees, despite the fact that this was only in many cases less than €100 per annum. Most of our mothers only earn €20 a month.
We could not manage these programmes without the appropriate technology and systems and Salesforce is the most important system which we use. Today we have quite an extensive, complex database, with details of over 3,500 mothers, 2000 children and 700 current donors in our system
Every month almost Rs.2 million is processed through the Salesforce system. Within two weeks of each month end we receive a set of management accounts which have been audited by a local chartered accountant in India. In Ireland one of our directors who is also a chartered accountant produces monthly accounts for Ireland and reviews the accounts from India.
Our mother’s pay 1% per month interest on the reducing balance and this is mainly used to fund the third level loan program. Our mothers also pay a membership fee of about one rupee per day. This income is enabling us to grow the organisation and to achieve a level of self sustainability in India.
In February 2016 we opened our Nandri centre. It is a 6000 ft.² building. The opening was attended by over 3500 mothers and children and local dignitaries. It has put us on the map locally and has enabled us to apply for grants from the Indian government to run training programmes for our mothers and children. It cost about €300,000 and was fully paid for by a small number of donors from Ireland including some directors. The building is used for training courses and administration and for regular meetings of over 600 officers of our 200 mothers self-help groups.
Most of our 3500 mothers are members of the low caste so-called untouchable Dalit community. We found it difficult to rent rooms for meetings and offices. Our mothers are treated like travellers in Ireland, who find it hard to rent rooms for weddings or other celebrations. Our 3500 mothers proudly wear their Nandri saris and are proud to be part of our organisation.
We are a small organisation and our revenue for the current financial year is likely to be around €200,000. We only have one part time employee in Ireland who works 10 hours a week. Our future strategy is to grow our micro finance fund. Since 2012 we have issued loans of over €900,000. The repayments are used to issue about 50 to 100 new loans every month.
In 2016 we were approved a grant of $50,000 from the Lions Clubs International Foundation #LCIF. We had to come up with $17,000 matching funds and much of this was provided by Lions Clubs in Ireland. This fund has already being used to provide loans to 350 widows and single parents.
On top of our micro finance programmes, our mothers, who meet every month in groups of 15 to 20, are also encouraged to save. They save about Rs.100 per month which is the equivalent of a days wages for them. This money is reloaned to their group colleagues. They also charge each other a small interest-rate. Our mothers proudly show off their passbooks which record their subscriptions, savings and loans. We have set up the necessary paperwork systems to enable them to manage these loans and savings themselves. We employ eight fieldworkers who attend all the meetings to ensure that all our procedures and systems are maintained.
We want our sponsors and donors to know that we make their money go far. Every €400 donation will change the life of a family who receive a loan to buy a cow. Two years later the same money will benefit another family and so on. A donation to Nandri is a gift that keeps on giving. Our future plan is double the size of our loan book. Within five years we hope to have 10,000 mothers of which over 5000 will have received a life changing loan.