Going Beyond Food: How Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council Uses Data to Evolve Program Offerings

Incorrect data impedes growth

Established in 1965, Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council (CDCAC) is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting the residents of Chelan and Douglas Counties, Washington with energy conservation, housing, education, and food distribution. CDCAC’s mission is to move people in their community out of poverty into a lifestyle that promotes a safer and healthier living environment.

Prior to using Link2Feed, the organization used a paper-based system that was not only time-consuming, but often produced incorrect reports. Although in compliance, the inaccurate numbers in these reports made it hard for the organization to trust their data and effectively grow their programs.

Improved data accuracy and flexible client enrollment

CDCAC realized that better technology was needed to not only grow their pantry, but also align their expanding program offering with their broader mission. The organization adopted Link2Feed Client Intake and Client Self-Enrollment (CNCT) to streamline their intake and enrollment processes as well as to improve the precision of their reporting. The network feature in Link2Feed Intake also allows them to see, manage and report program outcomes from a network level, which significantly enhances their data accuracy and communication with agencies.

CNCT, Link2Feed’s self-enrollment tool, further provides the organization with improved usability by enabling clients to register in several common languages. Clients can now input their information and easily complete the enrollment process within a few clicks, even if they’re not native English speakers. Additionally, they can now provide personal information, like income or ethnic origin, via self-input. This gives CDCAC the data they need to improve programs and services, while at the same time maintaining a high level of client privacy – something that’s been historically hard to do in person.

Deeper connection with the community to serve beyond food

Thanks to Link2Feed’s integrated product suite, CDCAC was able to not only advance their data collection and integrity, but also improve the way they present and use information. With Intake’s heat-mapping technology, they can now easily identify underserved areas that could benefit from their mobile pantry services.

The breadth of data that can be collected with Link2Feed has enabled the organization to broaden their understanding of the community’s needs beyond food, which helps them efficiently allocate resources to developing new programs or improving existing ones. With a better client intake process in place, CDCAC can now provide case management work that better identifies their clients’ holistic goals, such as how to register for college or how to find a house. They are now confident that they can use Link2Feed to address the root cause of hunger, as well as provide clients with referrals to additional programs and services designed to help them achieve the goal of a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.

“Link2Feed really exceeded our expectations and enlightened us about how data plays a powerful role in serving the community. For example, I was able to see that a lot of our customers are Russians, which motivates me to reach out more and work with that community. Upon getting nutritional food into the hands of low-income individuals, we want to use data to dig deeper into their needs and goals beyond food, to connect with them better and essentially evolve our programs to provide the services they’re looking for. We look forward to hiring coordinators to help transition all agencies in our network to Link2Feed.” – Britany Meiklen, Program Director of Food Distribution Center, Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council.