Care Portal Technology Update: Using the Map
Ponder with me for just one moment. Let’s consider that classic scenario: You’re lost in the wilderness and have a very limited amount of weight that you can carry. What do you take?
Let’s also presume that, considering it’s the wilderness, your smartphone has been rendered ineffective (nice try, though).
Really, though: what do you take? There are survival tools that would be clearly helpful, but what you’re really in need of is a tool that will provide a pathway to assess your environment. What you really need is a map. Yet, for those of us who are astrologically or directionally challenged, a map’s effectiveness can be limited to your preconceived knowledge of the environment. Without a guide or a marker to assess the direction of the map, how can we truly determine the direction to take? It’s when a map is paired with a compass that true understanding is possible.
The Care Portal includes a map that is designed to provide clarity into the needs, resources, and potential resources of a community. It’s intended to function as a map plus compass combo, equipping both churches and social workers in their efforts to meet needs.
Upon clicking on the link above, you’ll notice that the default setting provides a view of churches that have registered to meet needs via The Care Portal (currently, there are 356 churches registered nationwide). By using the filters above the map, though, you can customize your view to analyze two basic categories within The Care Portal: churches and requests.
Using the fields above the map, you can customize your view to analyze two basic categories within The Care Portal: churches and requests. The fields include zip code, the type of view (Churches or Requests), and then further customizations depending upon your desired view. Let’s discuss these customizations for both churches and requests.
Additional customizations for churches include the following.
- Active Care Portal – Features all active churches ready to meet the needs of those in their community. Active churches appear in orange on the map.
- Waiting Care Portal – Features all churches registered to provide care but are pending activation. Activation of a respective church is dependent upon a number of factors, but ultimately, a church will not be activated until it, along with nine other churches in the community, is ready to provide care and meet the needs within The Care Portal. These churches appear in yellow on the map.
- All Care Portal – Features all churches in The Care Portal that are either active or pending activation
- Non Care Portal – Features all IRS-registered churches within a given area. These churches appear in gray on the map.
- All Churches – Features all churches, both Care Portal registered and non-registered
Please note that a distance field will also emerge once you have selected the criteria for your view of the map. You have the option to view all churches (or requests, as discussed later) at 15, 25, 50, or 100 miles from the specified zip code. However, please note that the zoom feature on the map can be used to tailor your view.
These filters provide some powerful images. For instance, if you want to view all active churches within a 15 mile radius from your church, you can do that!
If you’re from the Kansas City metropolitan area, enter in your zip code and limit the results to 15 miles. Select the “All Churches” view. Imagine if all of these bodies rose up and collaborated with the social workers on the frontlines of need. Such opportunity! Such a testimony! Little by little, one need at a time, one family at a time, not A church but THE church demonstrates its power to a broken world.
Similar to the church filter, enter a zip code into the defined field, select the “Requests” option, and select “Open” requests. For a given zip code (and the surrounding area), a list of currently outstanding requests will emerge. The dashboard below the map is particularly useful in this view and will provide the purpose of the request, the type of service to be provided, and further description of the need.
You’ll note that the “type of service” for requests are currently listed as TIER 1 – Physical Needs. In the future, social workers will have the option to enter other types of needs (TIER 2 – Relational Needs and TIER 3 – Family Transition Needs).
Using the dashboard, churches can review the listed needs and assess their available resources. For some churches, finances may not be available but excess furniture or a necessary skill set can be provided. By involving multiple churches in each request, there’s a greater probability that the pooled resources will be able to meet the need. If a church identifies that it can meet a need, it chooses to Respond via the button on the dashboard.
It’s difficult when you don’t know what you don’t know, you know?
Churches desiring to engage their communities often don’t know how to minister to those in need unless the need arrives at the doorstep.
Social workers struggling to find additional resources don’t know what churches would even be willing to consider the needs of their communities.
The Care Portal – and this map, specifically – illustrates those who have need and those who have committed to help. It provides clarity into the needs and resources of the community. It’s a map and a compass, offering the landscape and the opportunity.
For more information on The Care Portal click here>>