Benetech transitioned the Service Net project to advisor Greg Bloom, of the Open Referral Initiative and their fiscal sponsor, Aspiration in 2021. Our organizations are closely aligned on enabling access to accurate human services information and helping the social sector use software tools more effectively.
Benetech Service Net
Many organizations are trying to provide a bridge to the safety net for people who need it, in part by maintaining directories of social services so that they can effectively refer their clients to the right resources. But Benetech’s survey of the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento region found 74% of records about services are being maintained redundantly in siloed resource directories that organizations expend significant resources to update manually. Moreover, these records can vary in depth, accuracy, or timeliness, making it that much harder to match a person to the appropriate service. Together we can make the safety net more visible.
Transformative Impact for All Involved
Benetech Service Net is an open standards data exchange platform that makes it easier to share and maintain information on local social and human services. Organizations providing referrals or referral technology (such as 2-1-1s, Healthify, or Health Leads) and agencies providing information about their services, such as community-based organizations (CBOs), food pantries, or government agencies, can work together to make better data available for everyone.
Ultimately, Service Net’s goal is to enable transformative impact for all stakeholders:
- For People Seeking Services: Increase volume, timeliness and relevance of information about available services; improve service delivery
- For Referrers:
- Increased Efficiency: Reduce duplication, improve service provider response rates to update information, provide mechanism for disseminating real-time updates when needed
- Decreased Data Maintenance Costs and Improved Data Quality: Increase comprehensiveness, timeliness, accuracy and relevancy of services information. Provide an engine that can fuel new innovation for those building connectors between people and services.
- For CBOs
- Quickly find services in your region: Access to the platform makes it easy for you to refer clients who would benefit from different or supplementary services to other local organizations. Filter by location and service type to quickly find the right organization to meet a need.
- Daily updates: Provide instant updates about resource availability to increase the likelihood of successful referrals.
- Information You Can Trust: Service Net’s data comes directly from the community based organizations listed. Timestamps let you know when the listing was most recently updated.
- Increased Efficiency: Updates that you publish to Service Net are automatically pushed to local referral agencies reducing time spent fielding requests from referral organizations so you can focus on what matters most: serving your community.
- For the Entire Sector:
- Faster Innovation Growth: Accelerate innovation of new tools, applications, and projects based on high-quality data
- Better Social Service Analysis:Better data about the distribution, availability, and scarcity of critical services, which will inform data-driven policies and funding decisions.
- Expanded Resource Reallocation: Create more opportunity for other valuable services by capturing value locked in redundant systems
- Replicable, Scalable Engine for Change: Create scalable infrastructure and provide replicable models for data collaboration for resource directories nationally
Collaboration is Key to Success
Collaboration with the social services community is at the heart of this effort. Design of the Benetech Service Net technical infrastructure includes significant and ongoing engagements with stakeholder organizations to understand their needs. This includes feedback not only on what kind of system would benefit them and their clients, but also what they see as beneficial for the entire sector. Additionally, Benetech partners with the Open Referral Initiative, which is developing open data standards that make it easier to share, find, and use information about community resources. Together, this close collaboration with numerous stakeholders helps ensure an approach and solution that will both strengthen the safety net with more accurate, timely, and cost-effective management of services resource data, and improve access to services that are critical for so many. Learn more about the Co-Design Process.