Frequently asked questions
What is HelpSeeker?
HelpSeeker is a free location-based systems map and online directory that allows you to find the closest, most relevant service for your needs with complete privacy. HelpSeeker is available as an app or website and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Questions regarding 211?
We get compared regularly to 211 because they are also an information/referral service. There are approximately 300 information/referral services across Canada, that tend to focus on specific sectors. We aggregate/centralize all services (no matter the sector) into one platform. An organization does not have to be a charity or non-profit to be listed on HelpSeeker - any civil service organization that contributes to social good can be listed on our site.
Unlike 211, we do not offer a crisis line. Our focus is on systems change/transformation, and as such, we work in the tech and research space, as well as strategy and consulting to help understand where change is needed and how it should happen. HelpSeeker’s platform helps to fuel the research and provide insights into areas for improvement. Systems mapping allows us to compare what’s going on with agencies in the same field and across sectors, to help us gain a broader understanding of what’s on offer, where the gaps and duplications are, and where future investment and resources need to be directed to.
Do I have to pay to use HelpSeeker?
There is no cost to you, the user, to use HelpSeeker.
What do the different coloured dots mean on the map?
The different colours represent the number of services/programs mapped (concentration of services):
- Red upside down tear-drop - represents a single location, if you click on it, the listing will appear and once zoomed in enough all listings will show up like this.
- Blue - represents locations with 2-9 listings
- Yellow - represents locations with 10-99 listings
- Red - represents listings in the hundreds 100-999
- Pink - represents listings in the thousands 1000-9999
- and Purple is 10,000 and above
Can HelpSeeker find me employment? Help me pay my bills? Find me housing?
HelpSeeker can assist you with finding many local programs for employment, financial or housing assistance for example. HelpSeeker does not offer any services or programs.
I cannot find what I'm looking for on HelpSeeker. Is there someone I can talk to?
In order to provide HelpSeeker at no cost to the user and low cost to community organizations, there is no live assistance (phone or web chat) offered at this time.
How do you make money if it is free? Who pays for these services?
Our organization uses a DAAS (data as a service) model. While the public facing end of the platform (the Systems Navigation App) is free for users and service providers, the data collected through clicks are stored in a data dashboard and is used to help decision makers (government, funders, system planners) understand the issues unfolding in their community, as well as the inventory of services/resources available to them. We charge for access to this dashboard.
In conjunction with the System Navigation App/Systems Mapping Platform, we also provide wrap-around services for these same decision makers, such as Integrated Needs Assessments, Social Impact Audits, Integrated Coordinated Access. These are paid services.
Does HS Track me/my data?
HelpSeeker does not require a sign-in or profile and does not collect any personal information from you, the user.
Can someone else see my search history on HelpSeeker if they open the app?
The HelpSeeker app will display the last searched for term(s) if the app was not completely closed down. Please see this document for Safe Exit strategies when using HelpSeeker.
Are you not-for-profit?
No, we are a social enterprise registered B-corp, which means that we behave like a corporation, but we operate with a social purpose.
Where can I get more information on HelpSeeker?
Please visit https://helpseeker.org/ for more information.
What is HelpSeeker?
HelpSeeker is a free location-based help services network that allows you to find the closest, most relevant service for individuals in need at your organization. HelpSeeker is available as an app or web-based platform and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What is the cost?
HelpSeeker is free for all end users, including service providers. Additional paid features are available to organizations conducting Systems Planning activities.
There are membership plans prompting me for payments when I log into my account, HelpSeeker was advertised as being free. Is there a fee to list or use HelpSeeker?
No - there is no fee for any service provider to sign up on HelpSeeker. Our platform is free to use - both for the public wanting to search for services, and for service providers wanting to list their services. The only time a subscription cost becomes a consideration is for access to the data dashboard and reports which is an optional upgrade only.
Agency accounts do, however, have the option to access reports relating to data specific to their agency. For instance, if the YMCA wanted to see data related to their programming, they can opt in to pay a subscription fee that allows them access to reports relating to the YMCA only. Again, this is a completely optional service, that no agency/service provider is under any obligation to pay for. It is simply a service we extend to them, should they see value in it.
Are there training resources?
HelpSeeker staff conduct tailored training sessions when launching the app in a community. If you’ve missed a training session or need a refresher, resource materials such as the “Getting Started Guide” can be found here. Additional technical support is available by contacting email@example.com and is available Monday-Friday. HelpSeeker staff strive to respond to your technical requests as soon as possible but may take up to 24 hours to reply.
What is the benefit for service providers?
Signing up for a free account as a service provider allows your agency to ensure that the information available through HelpSeeker is accurate and up to date, correctly reflecting the services and programs that your agency or organization offers. Claiming your listing as a service provider is one way to ensure that your program information is available to clients looking for similarly identified services. Service providers can specify any eligibility requirements saving both the agency and clients time and ineligible referrals.
Why should my program/organization claim the HelpSeeker listings and keep it up to date?
Keeping your agency information up to date allows for a more seamless delivery of services to those who need help right away. Furthermore, up to date information helps eliminate barriers for clients receiving help i.e., incorrect or missing contact info. Decision Makers may choose to use HelpSeeker’s Systems Mapping when it comes to funding or program decisions. The more accurate and up-to-date the information is, the better your community is able to make changes or assess your community assets.
How often should I update my listing(s)?
There is no limit to how often you can update your listing; however for programs and services that remain fairly stable from month to month, year to year, you should log-in 1-2 times a year to ensure your information is accurate and up to date. Agencies with a larger number of programs or who have programs which change depending on the time of year, should update their information seasonally or more often if needed.
How often is HS information updated for my community?
HelpSeeker System Mappers review and add new information approx 3-6 months after the initial mapping process of your community, and periodically thereafter. Once agencies claim their listings, they then become responsible for keeping their information up to date. Depending on the size and type of organization this can be typically from 1 to several times a year.
I am having trouble inputting my program information but would like it included on HelpSeeker?
We have a "Getting Started Guide" for your reference to help answer your mapping questions. Alternately, if you have the information available you can forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will map your programs for you.
How many accounts/ppl can access and make edits to our listing?
To keep it simple, we usually only allow one person per organization to make edits, however there have been exceptions to this.
Will using HelpSeeker create more work for our staff?
We hope that HelpSeeker will save your staff both time and work. Creating a comprehensive map of services allows frontline staff to quickly and easily look up programs for their clients, families and people experiencing vulnerability, saving copious hours searching on-line or through resource directories to find the information. Claiming your listing is not meant to be onerous and we suggest updating information at minimum once per year depending on the size of your organization, this may take from 5-15 minutes per update.
Why should I sign up/claim my listing? What’s in it for me?
Our goal is to improve the process for getting help to people in need. We need the help of all agencies to truly make it a success.
The benefits of signing up are that:
- it supports the coordination of service delivery across agencies, making the process to match high-system users with available services easier
- it helps to improve service delivery: agencies with active/up-to-date listings help inform decisions around future program planning.
- it’s free advertising!
My program is Unclaimed - what does this mean?
An unclaimed listing means the agency has not yet taken ownership of their listing(s) to ensure the information provided is accurate and kept up-to-date. An unclaimed listing was created by HelpSeeker staff with the most up-to-date information typically found through the agency website or on-line presence.
My organization isn't listed - how can I add this?
There are two ways to ensure your agency is included in your community’s system map.
Email email@example.com and provide your website and/or brief description of what services/programs you offer and a HelpSeeker System Mapper will create a listing.
Request a free account at helpseeker.org. Once you receive log-in information via email, you can then begin to map your programs/services. HelpSeeker has a “Getting Started Guide” to help answer any questions you may have about adding listings/services to HelpSeeker.
My organization has incorrect information - how can I fix this?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the listing and correct info and we will update the information promptly. If your agency’s information is incorrect, alternatively you can claim your agency listing which will give you access to make any necessary changes.
What search data will I be able to see about my community and organization?
HelpSeeker aggregates all end user searches and interactions (filters, clicks etc.) into user-friendly dashboards that provide real-time analytics and insights for funders, community leaders and systems planning.
Still need help or have questions?
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