Getting Your Clients the Help They Need: Three Models for Resource and Referral Apps

The nonprofit sector has long struggled with the best way to refer people to services. We have experimented with directory services, models that show available capacity of service organizations, and help lines. In all of these efforts, we have strived to connect clients to available and relevant services as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Previous efforts have achieved varying levels of success — but new technologies are changing what is possible.

In this session, Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global, will convene and moderate a diverse panel of technologists and program managers who have created resource and referral tools to better serve their communities.

Participants will have an opportunity to see live demos of resource and referrals apps, ask questions about the effectiveness of the tools in action, and learn about the technology decisions that led to the development of the tool.

Attendees will take away:

  • Three different models for providing resource and referral information to clients
  • Ways to track the effectiveness of the resource and referral information
  • Lists of other relevant resources to inform any tool selection or development they may wish to do



Marnie Webb

CEO, Caravan Studios

Marnie Webb is the CEO of Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Caravan Studios’ collaborative approach uses a theory of technology intervention to allow communities to respond to the issues they care about most. Caravan Studios recently launched SafeNight, a mobile service that allows domestic violence organizations to crowdsource funding for hotel rooms when shelter is urgently needed. Funded by Microsoft Citizenship, Blue Shield of California Foundation and Vodafone Americas Foundation, SafeNight represents Caravan Studios’ belief that technology can be used to illuminate issues, identify problems, and evoke action. Previously, Webb was co-CEO of TechSoup Global, a 25-year-old organization that distributes more than $600 million in donated technology to NGOs world-wide. In this role, Webb counseled Fortune 500 technology companies, such as Cisco and Microsoft, on philanthropic initiatives that align with their business objectives and recognize the creativity and innovation that nonprofits have to offer. Named one of the Top 10 Silicon Valley Influencers by San Jose Mercury News, Webb is a sought after writer and speaker on innovation, community, and the social web. In 2008, she won NTEN “Person of the Year” award and was included in to the Nonprofit Times’ list of the 50 most influential leaders in the U.S. nonprofit sector and is the initiator of the NPTech tagging experiment.

Joseph Tanigawa


Teagan Widmer


Teagan is a self taught software developer with a background in object oriented programming. She endeavors to write code that is clean, elegant, and innovative. In addition to her software development she is also a writer, educator, and artist. She holds an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA in English from Pacific Union College. Teagan has lectured and presented her work at numerous schools, conferences, and events around the United States. Her writing has been published on Autostraddle, Interrupt Magazine, and the Youngist. In the future she likes to imagine sitting down to read a good book next to a roaring fireplace in a den filled with bookshelves.

Daria Garina

Castlight Health

Return to Agenda