This article explains the characteristics of CarePortal requests that tend to receive more responses from community and church responders. Caseworkers should consider all of these factors for each of their requests so they are advocating safely and effectively for the family and children in need as well as representing their agency in a professional way.
Included in This Article
- 5 Tips for Entering a Quality Request
- Agency Training Video
- Troubleshooting Common Problems & Errors
5 Tips for Entering a Quality Request
No Names, Contact Information or Embarrassing Details -- EverRequests entered into CarePortal are publicly available for anyone to access. This means information shared about the family and children in need must be kept to only the necessary details like why the requested items will make an impact and specific strengths of the family. Details or parts of the family's story that might be embarrassing to them or jeopardize their safety must be kept out of requests.
The caseworker's contact information should also be kept out of request descriptions. When an approved responder makes a commitment to help through the CarePortal platform, they will automatically receive the caseworker's contact information (and vice versa). If they are not an approved responder with this level of access, they will be directed to work with someone in their area who does have this approval.
Note: In cases where sensitive information is included in a request's public description, a Regional Manager may edit the description to remove that information and then contact the relevant Agency Rep(s) to discuss the best way to prevent this from happening in the future.
Advocate for the FamilyThe description field for a request is incredibly important. Our experience has proven that too little detail included about the family or child in need leads to a dramatically lower response rate, so the platform will require a minimum of 250 characters for this field. Caseworkers should highlight the family's strengths and the hurdles they've overcome. It helps to show confidence in how the family will benefit directly if this request were met, and why. When caseworkers take the time to write something from the heart and explain why they personally want to see a particular family receive help, responders can sense that and will often rally around that family as well.
Include Answers to Potential QuestionsCaseworkers should put themselves in the shoes of a responder that only knows what they are sharing about a family, and ask what questions might remain unanswered to show responders someone has considered their potential concerns. These answers should be added to the request description to help give responders a head start on understanding exactly how they can help.
For example: Would a responder need to know sizes for the needed items? How has the agency invested in helping the family already? Is there a plan to help the family avoid the same circumstance next month?
Use Realistic Time and Value EstimatesCarePortal requests are not guaranteed to receive responses, so caseworkers should not stop looking for the needed items or services from other potential providers. It's also important that requests are not entered with a critical urgency level unnecessarily since the platform does treat these requests differently. Value estimates should also be kept to what they genuinely require someone to invest since the CarePortal platform allows for responders to commit funding for certain requests as well. What they can commit for each request is directly affected by the estimated value given to the items on the request.
Focus on the EssentialsRequests that include a long list of small items can feel overwhelming and more complex than they really are. Likewise, request descriptions that don't match the items added to the request can lead to confusion. When caseworkers focus on the main needs that present the biggest barriers or would have the highest impact on the family (whether they are big or small items), responders will have a clear understanding of how they can get involved in that request with less chance of being overwhelmed by seeing the fuller picture of the family's need. Of course, the family does have other needs. Responders are often trained to and are eager to look for other, smaller needs as a way to follow-up with families they serve, but putting everything on the request can actually lead to lower response rates.
Agency Training Video
For more training and insights, please refer to the Agency Training Module below and speak with the designated Agency Rep(s) within your organization.
Troubleshooting Common Problems & Errors
- The platform is preventing Workers and/or Reps from entering a new request
This is often due to one of two issues:
- The zip code for the family may not be in a county your agency is approved for
- Your agency has already hit the county's monthly request limit (if one has been established)
- An open request's public link shows a response from someone, but the worker wasn't notified
CarePortal will only alert the worker who entered a request about a response from a local church. If other responses are made by community responders, the platform will direct them to specially-trained local churches who could steward the resources available and serve the family. One of them will need to "Commit & Claim" the available resources from the community responder, which is a process that will notify the worker that a local church is ready to help.
- A request was entered and approved with confidential family or other personal information of the caseworker
In these cases, a Regional Manager may edit the request description to remove any sensitive information and then contact the relevant Agency Rep(s) to discuss the best way to prevent this from happening in the future.