How do you close the loop? This is the major underlying question for everyone in the social service sector. In other words, how do you know if you’ve actually helped someone?
Let’s say you work with a young woman, recently pregnant and unsure of what to do. You give her some pamphlets about nearby prenatal services and wish her the best. Or let’s say you answer the phone for a housing crisis hotline, and you speak with a man who is facing eviction. You tell him about where to go for legal resources and hang up the phone.
These types of scenarios play out every day. It’s hard to argue you didn’t provide critical services in both cases, but how do you know you made a difference?
If you’re working with a client for a short period of time, you may never know. If you’re a client’s case manager or social worker, then it’s possible you’ll find out, although that can often require a lot of follow-up, calls, text messages, or future meetings. While this kind of person-to-person work can never be replicated – and we wouldn’t try – we were asked by case managers to make it just a little easier. And that’s what we did with One Degree Referrals.
Here’s how it works: You add your client, and optionally their contact information. Then, you use One Degree as normal to find one or more of the 10,000+ resources on our platform, and create a referral using our new tools. We’ll automatically send the resource details to your client at the contact info you provided us. They’ll get an email or a text message with the information they need.
For your tech savvier clients, all of their resources appear in their own One Degree account. It’s a synced copy of what you see in your account, so you have a real-time view of what they’re working on. Conversely, if you have a client that really just needs paper in their hand, we make it simple for you to print out the referral information so you don’t have to spend time manually writing it down.
Perhaps the most important part is that we then automatically follow up with your client to track their access of those resources. For instance, the young woman you helped will get a text message asking if she went to the prenatal care you recommended. If she did, we’ll ask her to give the service a rating and review, and you’ll be notified – loop closed. She can also indicate she wants assistance. If she does, we’ll notify you so you can follow up with her. As a case manager, you can update the referral status yourself, or keep track of referrals together with the clients who are able to.
This is a powerful new way for you to amplify the work you and your colleagues are doing to help community members who are already getting personal attention, but who need additional support outside formal meetings. Try it out for yourself – it’s completely free.
Create referrals for your clients with your nonprofit professional One Degree account.
We’ve just launched these new tools, and since then we’ve seen over 100 referrals made. However, we know this is a just a start and we’re eager to hear what you think. Please email me any time at email@example.com with your questions, ideas, and feedback.