Health-e Pro and Link2Feed, seeing there was a need in the CACFP market, recently teamed up to integrate their software and provide CACFP/SFSP sponsors and sites a complete package for menu planning and nutrient analysis, meal tracking point-of-service, inventory management, and client intake software. We wanted to provide some insight into what will be offered by this partnership so we spoke with Link2Feed President, Emily Branton, to provide some details.
Can you tell us a little about what Link2Feed does?
Link2Feed provides data collection and reporting software for non-profits and public-sector organizations with a focus on food insecurity and poverty.
There are several different applications making up the Link2Feed suite, including meal tracking point-of-service software for CACFP/SFSP sponsors and sites, client intake software (primarily for food banks and food pantries, with features for managing TEFAP, CSFP and SNAP outreach) and inventory management.
But we’re more than just a software company; we’re a social enterprise and Certified B Corporation that provides food banks with the technology to better understand hunger and increase their overall community impact. What we call “Feeding Change.”
Our overarching social mission (also known as our Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG) is to work with our clients to create the world’s first global metric about hunger in developed nations. We’re extremely proud to serve over 6,000 organizations across North America and into the UK.
You’ve been with Link2Feed for over six years now–president for five. What changes have you seen in your industry in that time?
There has been a significant growth in the number of non-profits looking at data collection to better understand their impact and streamline programs. As the sector evolves, donors, government, and the public are putting more pressure on non-profits to demonstrate the impact of their services.
Because of these pressures, it’s no longer enough to just report on the number of people or meals served; organizations want to focus on understanding hunger and its root causes, which means first understanding the people being served.
We believe food is just a catalyst to a better life and that the emergency food sector plays a vital role in long-term poverty reduction. So we’ve developed technology that does more than simply streamline operations and provide basic counts; it enables organizations to understand exactly how emergency food and other services change their clients’ lives.
How has Link2Feed been able to support those changes?
We understand our services are mission critical for our users and we take that role very seriously. Our users depend on Link2Feed to help maintain compliance, ensure sustainability for their programs and, most importantly, improve the lives of people in their community.
One of the ways we do this is by making Link2Feed extremely easy-to-use. Many of our users are uncomfortable with technology, so we make sure the system is designed to make them feel at ease. Our staff spend a lot of time volunteering using Link2Feed on the frontline to fully understand the needs and challenges of our users.
We also provide our customers with dedicated account managers so they have one-on-one support and someone to advocate on their behalf to our team. This service ensures we can provide detailed training and ongoing support for implementation and best practices.
The focus on our users drives innovation at Link2Feed–we track all feature requests and roll out the most requested features at no cost to our users 2-3 times a year. This makes Link2Feed a system they can grow with.
Partnerships are also important in supporting these changes in the industry. This past year we announced a formal partnership with Feeding America and became members of the American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA) and National CSFP Association (NCSFPA).
You’ve talked about a new feature where Link2Feed will be not only web-based, but available offline. What else do you envision over the next few years to help support your mission of feeding hungry people? Of using data to change lives?
Many high-need individuals are located in areas with limited connectivity, but most software systems are web-based. We are investing in offline capabilities for our CACFP/SFSP platform to make it easier to service these communities. We will bring on our first wave of offline users this fall and are excited to learn from their experience.
In terms of overall mission, we will work toward this by fostering a sense of community via our client advisory board, conference attendance, and presentations–as well as our partnerships.
Link2Feed and Health-e Pro met at the 2018 National CACFP show. Why did a partnership make sense from your side?
We had received a lot of requests to develop menu planning functionality in Link2Feed, so were extremely excited when we met the Health-e Pro team. One look at the software and we knew it was exactly what our users were looking for.
We also felt Health-e Pro shared similar values around ease of use, customer service, and continuous improvement–the team is as passionate about the work as we are, so we knew our customers would love them too.
What does the new integration offer our mutual customers?
Health-e Pro are experts in menu planning and we’re experts at point-of-service solutions–teaming up means we can provide a comprehensive solution for CACFP and SFSP providers. Sponsors can easily create compliant menus in Health-e Pro and share with sites that are recording the meals in Link2Feed.
What is it that you love about serving in this space?
As a Certified B Corporation, we’re really excited about showing how technology companies can help solve social problems. Seeing the impact we’ve had helping sponsors ease administrative stress, make audits easier and grow their programming has also been extremely rewarding. We really believe we work with some of the most passionate people in the world!
We thank Emily for offering great insight into the CACFP space, and are thrilled for this integration to help serve our customers! If you have any questions about how this integration could help you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.