Information and Referral is the one core service that you can provide without setting up a Consumer Service Record for the individual. That doesn’t mean that you won’t need to keep information and follow up with the person. The strongest centers keep some kind of log of the caller, the area of concern, and the information needed to follow up and see if the individual was able to act on the information or referral.
The best practice we see treats this first contact as the door to offering additional services or connecting the person with the disability community or both.
These individual contacts where the center staff responds to someone who is asking a question can come through social media or your website and not just by telephone or drop-ins. But it is only counted as an I & R service if you provide information to an individual in response to a request.
Centers have not been consistent in how I & Rs are counted in the annual reports to ACL/ILA. Here are some pointers for tracking I & Rs as opposed to outreach efforts.
- A phone call requesting specific information, which is responded to, is an I & R.
- A text message requesting specific information, which is responded to, is an I & R.
- A phone message that is not returned does not count as an I & R.
- A “contact us” note on your website, if you respond to it, is an I & R.
- Hits to your website are outreach, but are not I & R.
- If someone contacts you with a message from Facebook and you respond by providing information or referral, it is an I & R.
- Facebook “likes” “follow” and “share” are outreach, but are not I & R.
For you to count an activity as I & R, you must actually provide a specific individual with information or a referral.