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SF Open Referral

Published on by Jason Lally

The Problem

Agencies and organizations create and maintain many different community resource directories. Each organization applies similar resources and effort against a shared issue, but there is no shared knowledge. Although they share similar goals and challenges, these efforts work in isolation of each other.

  1. Individuals seeking help are left to navigate confusing lists of resources that may or may not lead them to what they need.
  2. Social workers and other intermediaries must master multiple lists of competing information, making it hard to connect their clients to the relevant help.
  3. Community development initiatives are left paying for new research to understand the state of their community resources.

Data - Many Locations and Formats

Where does the data live?

  • internal contract management systems
  • printed resource guides
  • administration databases
  • internal PDFs
  • the minds of single employees

Opportunity - Data should be free!

We see an opportunity to free this data so it can be:

  • published in a standardized format
  • easily accessible
  • easy to update
  • a precedent for modern referral systems

And ultimately: Deliver consistent, high quality social services to those in need!

Additional Resources

  • Getting started guide
  • Mid-market pilot description