Our company was founded in 2010, and soon became the most widely adopted search and referral network for finding and connecting to social services in the United States. As of this writing, we have helped over 2.8 million users on our platform in all 50 states. If you’re curious about our user growth and where our users come from, take a look:
We didn’t become a nationwide network overnight. We never really advertised or went viral, so people discovered www.auntbertha.com through word of mouth and through our customers, who licensed our platform and joined our Social Care Network.
With a large user base, we became more and more curious about how people search. And we found that it isn’t always the person in need searching for services in their own neighborhoods. Often it’s friends helping friends, adult children helping their aging parents, or professional social workers helping their clients. We’ve noticed that when people are helping others, state lines don’t seem to matter.
Our Traction in North Carolina
We analyze our user activity across our network to get a sense as to what people are looking for. In North Carolina, we’ve seen 86,397 users with more than 50,000 unique users in 2019.
Where Are Aunt Bertha’s Users in North Carolina Coming From?
Our users are people in need, workers at non-profits and government agencies, or employees of any one of the 32 of our customers that service North Carolinians, including the NC Community College System, Atrium Health, Novant Health, Trinity Health, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), AARP Foundation, and the Red Cross.
While analyzing our user data, we noticed that there are hundreds of users coming from networks owned by the State of North Carolina (state employees), all major universities, and most major healthcare institutions. While these organizations are not yet customers, they’re using our platform to find and connect to social care resources across the state. As a mission-driven company, we welcome users of any sort (paying or not) as we know they’re hard at work helping others and we want to be as supportive as possible.
Where North Carolinians Are Searching for Services
Users are searching across all 100 counties in North Carolina. The heatmap below shows that our users include people from big cities and small towns.
What Are North Carolinians Searching for?
With more than 50,000 unique users last year, we have a growing amount of data that shows where the supply of services may not be meeting the demand for these services. In 2019, for example, we get a sense as to some of the needs surfacing.
Connections and Responses — People Are Finding the Help They Need in North Carolina
Yes. It’s happening all across the State. In 2019, there were 25,178 electronic connections on our platform in North Carolina. Below you’ll see the growth of our electronic connections over time.
In 2019, of the 25,178 electronic connections, 10,824 of those were electronic referrals made on the Aunt Bertha Platform in North Carolina. We expect this figure to continue to grow as the strength of our network continues to grow in the State.
On our platform, three entities can close the loop on referrals: an employee of the organization that made the outbound referral, an employee of the organization that receives the referral, and the person (or family) being referred. We’ve seen significant growth in the number of closed-loop referrals on the platform as more and more users adopt the concept.
Our Network in North Carolina
Our users and prospective customers are always interested in the strength of our network. Time and time again we hear that customers choose Aunt Bertha over others because they know they’ll start with an engaged network on day one (versus a promise to build one), and we respect seekers’ privacy.
Because we are continually asked about our network, we figured we’d save everybody a bunch of time and publish our network statistics every month. See the interactive report below and drill into any county to learn more about the types of programs available on a county-by-county basis.
Aunt Bertha’s Social Care Network: An interactive map demonstrating the strength of our social care network in every county in the United States.
Across North Carolina you’ll see a county-by-county breakdown of the types of programs available. You’ll also find that there are 2,158 claimed program locations in North Carolina on our network and that number is growing every month.
The interactive map (found here for future reference) allows you to see more network details by metropolitan statistical area (MSA), or county. For example, see details of the Charlotte—Gastonia—Rock Hill MSA below.
Our employees are dedicated to growing our network across the U.S. in order to help the most people in need connect to services. With a growing network team of over 60 people, we find the right mix of boots on the ground (one of which lives in Charlotte, NC), and our shared services staff based in our offices in Austin.
How Is Aunt Bertha Funded?
We are a shared services organization, and our customers subscribe to our service. With 225 customers across the United States, we are not wholly owned and operated by our biggest customers. In fact, our largest customer only represents 7% of our revenue.
We’re also not a government-funded initiative, and we are not subject to the risks of government shutdowns, changing administrations, or general loss of interest. We do not charge people in need and we do not charge nonprofits and other helping organizations to participate. The video below tells you a little about our company and our business model.
About Aunt Bertha: Our mission is to connect all people in need and the programs that serve them (with dignity and ease).
We’re Investing in North Carolina Communities for the Long Term
There’s a lot of interest in the State of North Carolina as it applies to doing progressive things to address the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). We see the act of addressing SDoH the same as addressing poverty, and these efforts are much welcomed.
However, we also believe that no state government, foundation, insurance company, or any other institution with power should institute policies that limits any person, organization, or company from helping others.
We are sensing an approach out in the marketplace, including North Carolina, that there is a trend to require a single technical solution. There is an idea and a promise that if organizations in positions of power do things to force healthcare systems, nonprofits and people to use a single system, then data silos will be prevented. An interesting idea in principle, but that approach alienates people and organizations. We’ve found that social service collaboration requires an industry agnostic approach — with helpful incentives for non-profits. Our prediction is that a heavy handed approach will backfire if it medicalizes the process of finding help.
So how do we prevent data silos? There are better and more mature strategies that can be employed that address this problem through interoperability standards and we’re leading the way on this front.
We welcome the State of North Carolina and other institutions to the table to discuss an alternative approach to one that’s been taken thus far—one that is more inclusive and recognizes the sober realities of these problems. We’re also excited to continue working with our customers and nonprofits across the state in their efforts to take great care of North Carolinians.
Our mission is to connect all people in need and the programs that serve them (with dignity and ease). We take that word—all—seriously. And we take the term dignity seriously as well. And for these reasons we are committed to helping people across North Carolina, and everywhere else. And we won’t slow down one bit.