I live in a small town and we have a non-profit organization that offers many services including a food pantry.  One of the things we are wrestling with is how to identify if the client is a new client or a returning client.  I was wondering of there was any organization out there that has been able to figure out this problem?

thank you,

Diane Jamail

Approximately how many people do you serve in a day?

Do you ask clients for a phone number each time, and then match that with what's already in your database?

Do you ask people if they are a new client or a returning client?

They said the client often changes their phone number so using a phone number as a unique identifier will not work.  The food bank has a policy that a client is allowed to receive food twice a month, but it is currently just on the honor system.

Our food pantry uses Charity Tracker software. It allows you to enter each client and track what you are giving them. By tracking all items, you have info when you are applying for grants and donations.

Hello, Diane. Our org does drive-through food distribution operations. The way we handle it is that we first have new recipients sign up with us using an online form on our website, which then results in their placement in our recipients database. We inform them that when they first come, they will receive a Participant I.D. Card, which they are to display on their vehicle dashboard each time they come. One of our volunteers checks in all vehicles as they drive up, waving on the vehicles with existing I.D. Cards on their dashboard and then handing out cards to the first-time recipients (who are on a list that our checker has). So we can easily tell who is new, and who is returning. Hope this helps.

Carmine, The Food Brigade Inc.