What do we mean by ‘referral’?

Broadly speaking, people seek ‘referrals’ to resources that can help them meet their needs. Community resource data connects people to health, human, and social services from which they can receive assistance.

Some services are provided by non-profit organizations, and other civic or cultural groups. Others are provided by local, state, even federal governments. All of these entities share information about their resources in different ways.

‘Information and referral’ refers to the field in which information about services is aggregated in community resource directories, and delivered (via referral) to people seeking help.

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) is an accrediting agency that certifies ‘information and referral’ providers throughout North America. AIRS promotes official standards for ‘information and referral’ services, ranging from operational standards to data standards. AIRS has consulted with the Open Referral Initiative from its inception, and members of AIRS are active in our community and working process.

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