Below are the principles by which all social service consumer information should adhere, including all resource content, tags, and properties.

  1. Information should be directed at the end-consumer, and communicated in a friendly, but neutral way, that is free of judgment.
  2. The information given to a person should give them “next steps.”
  3. A person should not have to do additional research before being able to connect directly with the help they need.
  4. A person should know exactly what they can get or do with a given resource.
  5. There should be no extraneous information that is irrelevant to a person getting the help they need.

About the Principles

1.Information should be directed at the end-consumer, and communicated in a friendly, but neutral way, that is free of judgment.

Our approach is to provide information directly to help-seekers, not just to nonprofit and social work professionals, who are already well-versed in where to go or what to do. All kinds of people use “social services” and community resources. We should never assume anything about anyone, and we should never communicate information in a judgmental way.

2. The information given to a person should give them “next steps.”

The information we give people must be more than a listing of organization names and phone numbers. To truly ensure people are one degree from the help they need, we need to give them actionable intelligence on what they can do next to get what they’re looking for.

3. A person should not have to do additional research before being able to connect directly with the help they need.

We don’t want to give people information, only to have them have to go digging on another organization’s website or contact someone else for more information before finding help. Giving a top-level link to a website that could be found by doing a Google search is not as helpful as giving the nested link to sign up. Moreover, if we are aware of specific “next steps” (see principle #2) that enable a person to get a resource, then we should display that information directly rather than pointing them to where those next steps can be found somewhere else.

4. A person should know exactly what they can get or do with a given resource.

There should be no ambiguity or confusion over what a person can find at a given organization. To that end, we don’t want to simply give people a list of organizations; we need to tell them exactly what they can do at each organization and how.

5. There should be no extraneous information that is irrelevant to a person getting the help they need.

Too much information is a bad thing. We want to summarize and display only the most relevant information for people to get the help they need. Information such as an organization’s mission statement, funding sources, research partnerships, tax status, bios of staff members, how to volunteer, how to donate, how to apply for a grant, and other such irrelevant content should not be included. If it does not help a person get the help they need, we should not collect or display it.