Each year as the holiday season approaches, we often begin to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. There are many who struggle for the same opportunities that seem to come much more easily to others, but thankfully Information & Referral (I&R) resources exist to help any person in need. Information & Referral is the art, science, and practice of bringing people and services together. I&R can help individuals, families, and communities with resources such as home care, housing options, obtaining adaptive equipment for the home or office, how to sign up for public benefits, and so much more. Here are 3 reasons to be thankful for I&R services this Thanksgiving.
1.Save Some Money for That Holiday Meal
Information & Referral services are a huge financial asset to individuals, organizations, and even our nation. In a study commissioned by United Way Worldwide, researchers found that a national service of this type (I&R) is estimated to provide $1.1 billion in net value to society over the next 10 years – translating into a huge costs savings for the nation. In times of crisis after a natural disaster, for example, Information & Referral organizations can help alleviate the financial burden on the nation by offering disaster relief to those affected.
Our nation is not the only player benefitting financially from Information & Referral assistance. There are thousands of individuals in the United States who continue to struggle financially due to poverty and lack of support networks who can gain financial assistance through I&R services. By enrolling in benefits programs to have housing and utility payment assistance to alleviate costs, for example, these individuals can save their income to buy food and necessities to live happier lives.
2.Be Thankful for the Time You Have
With new capabilities that Information & Referral organizations are implementing, individuals who need help can find the information they seek easier and faster than ever before. Although the process of dialing 2-1-1 to reach an I&R Specialist over the phone is quite simple, many I&R organizations have made it even easier to text, video chat, or even search through online portals to find the information they need 24/7. This equates to less time wasted searching for hours online or waiting on hold to only be transferred to multiple departments.
I&R services are saving individuals even more time through the popularity of self-service capabilities. In fact, 90% of consumer expect organizations to offer a self-service customer support portal, and I&R organizations are delivering. Many individuals who need help may feel embarrassed to contact a live person to locate resources. Thanks to improved technology and innovative, online knowledge base portals, those in need can locate crucial information in a short amount of time.
3.Thanking Those Who Make a Difference
Millions around the nation are thankful for Information & Referral because of the impact that these services have on so many lives. I&R resources such as 2-1-1 services currently reach approximately 270 million people, accounting for 90% of the U.S. population. That’s a lot of impact that these organizations and I&R Specialists are having on society. In fact, professional I&R Specialists are the foundation of I&R centers and work to help people better understand their problems and assist them by offering a range of options to clients to make the most informed decisions.
Specialists can even advocate on behalf of those who need special support, and can encourage self-reliance and empowerment of individuals through education, affirmation, collaborative planning and problem solving. For example, many specialists are trained to handle crisis calls such as suicide prevention that can potentially save lives. I&R Specialists can even advocate for individuals such as those with disabilities to get the help that they require to live fulfilling lives with minimal assistance.
With so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, be sure to make room for Information & Referral organizations in your thoughts along with the room you’ve made an extra slice of pumpkin pie.