How to Maximize a Call to a Nonprofit Agency

Contacting an agency for information can be confusing and frustrating. Follow these steps below to maximize the call; this will make you more effective and efficient in looking for services for your family member.

Before the Call

Have a pen and paper ready for information: Double check to make sure the pen works!

Make a list of all of the supports and services you are looking for: This includes things that you might think the agency doesn’t offer. Once you’re on the call the person may be able to assist you with your questions.

Have your child or family member’s age, county of residence, diagnosis, current IQ, and any insurance information: Many agencies determine eligibility for their programs based on this information.  Once you are speaking with someone they may be able to assist you further when you have this information.

During the Call

Verify who you are speaking with: Write down their name, title, phone number, ask if you may contact them again if you have any further questions. Is there anyone else at this agency you could also speak to if they are unable to assist you? Can you speak with anyone else regarding the supports and services at the agency?

If they have the service/support: How do you apply? Is there a current wait list? What are the requirements? Whom do you speak to about this? Can you have any documents emailed, faxed, or mailed to you?

If they do NOT have the service/support: Do they know who may offer it? Do they offer similar programs? Do they know of any other agency who might?

Additional Services: What other services does the agency offer? Ask specifically about any services your family member may not be eligible for currently but might in the future. Do they know of any other services he/she might be eligible for with another agency?

Review all information provided: Make sure to pay special attention to the names and numbers provided. Also what information is for the agency you contact and what information is for additional agencies.

Leaving a message:

You may not always get a live person when you call an agency. Some agencies only have voice mail services. To maximize your message follow these tips: Speak slowly, repeat your name and phone number twice. Tell them the best time to call you back and what you are looking for.

After the Call

Review your notes again: You may wish to re-write them if you cannot clearly understand them. Make sure there is a date and time of the call on the note, this will be important if you have to do any follow up.

Make a follow up to do list on who to contact: You may wish to have someone in your support team help with this collecting applications and additional names and numbers.

Talk to others about your experiences in our Community Section.

Find Support

Looking for more tips about how to get the most out of your phone calls?

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to fellow parents, caregivers, and experts about their strategies for dealing with agencies.


Are you looking for resources to help your child?

Check out our Resource Locator to find the government and non-government agencies that can provide the services that your child needs.