A common function of many nonprofits is to provide an information and referral function. Some provide publications that they can mail to requesters. Some can make referrals to services the agency themselves offers. Often, the agency serves as a clearing house to refer callers to reputable 3rd parties who provide a particular service.
Most of these agencies need to record and track statistics on the information they provide and referrals they make. They must show this to funders to explain the nature of the referral service they provide - to justify its funding.
I built a database for tracking such with Microsoft Access 2003. It provides an interactive way of recording the calls, the information requested and referrals made. For publication requests and internal referrals, the system provides for a listing or automated emails to the proper individuals responsible for fulfilling the information request / handling the referral. It can also send emails, if authorized by the caller, to 3rd parties who have agreed to accept referrals via email.
The system tracks demographic information on callers (and care recipients if different) and information about publications provided and referrals made. Various daily, monthly and annual reports are produced.
The system also has a capability of having a positive confirmation that each requested publication was mailed and each internal referral was handled. Management follow-up reports are provided.
Much of the system is table driven so it is easy to setup you publications, internal referrals and external referrals. The email capability can be established by publication name or referral program. It works with Microsoft Outlook email.
February, 2008: The software was updated to provide for an extensive database of third party referral resources. This can work well for referral to medical resources by specialty and subspecialty as well as to other types of resources. The call taker can enter various search criteria to search the database of resources.
This software is provided free to 501(c)(3) organizations.
You can download a trial version of the software for Access 2003, limited to 10 inquiries and 10 referral resources here - copy the link below and paste into a browser address bar
Create a directory in c: named c:\InformationReferral.
UNzip the downloaded file and place the two files in c:\informationReferral.
Run the file named InformationReferralDemoAccess2003.mdb
You can obtain information about this system from the author at:
bobalston9 AT yahoo DOT com