Mutual Aid Connect
Mutual Aid Connect - A Needs-based Resource Management Tool
Designed by OrganizingTogether
Build by FreelyGive
Powered by Drupal
URL: mutualaidconnect.org (under construction)
US Lead: Charla M. Burnett, [email protected]
UK Lead: Jamie Abrahams, [email protected]
Backend Tutorial: https://freelygive.io/blog/covidmutualaid
Partnership Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GFEVb2N7XQ
The lockdown measures in place to manage COVD-19 have left many vulnerable and older people more isolated than ever before. Over 3000 Mutual Aid groups nationally are responding by coordinating volunteers and matching them to requests for support. However, they are often reliant on WhatsApp groups or spreadsheets which is laborious and increasingly difficult to manage at scale.
We have designed and built a database system for linking support requests and volunteers. It has both central dispatch and self-service functionality, geolocation integration (so volunteers can respond to requests using a map view) and staff management tools. Furthermore, it handles complex considerations like privacy, volunteer vetting and auto-assigning, which are beyond the capability of spreadsheets. It has both public and private reporting capabilities which will allow the activities of the organization to be monitored and reported on during and after the current crisis. Our tools can either assist staff with manually assigning volunteers or allow automatic assigning of appropriate volunteers, through leveraging our experience with automation in the rail industry..
Whilst many systems exist that can assist with volunteer management, our approach is unique and important in two ways. Existing government systems can scale upwards towards many users, but our open-source system is able to quickly and cheaply provide tools to smaller local organizations such as Facebook groups, therefore having a wider and greater reach, especially to the digitally excluded. By empowering local groups, charities, religious organizations etc, with their own tools, we are more likely to be able to help individuals who would otherwise slip through the cracks.
The second important aspect of the software is that it is open-source and strongly web-based. Many CRM systems and databases that councils use are proprietary and built primarily to be used by internal staff. This makes data-sharing a complicated and manual process. Our system is designed to be open where appropriate whilst taking into account the necessary security requirements. Smaller organizations can register to use their own siloed section of the site and manage the data themselves whilst staff at the parent organization (such as a council) have oversight. This will become key as volunteer fatigue sets in and larger organizations may need to assist those on the front-lines.