Client Intake Fields & Considerations 2021 (U.S. Networks)

This guide lists the different field options available in Link2Feed and key details on configuration. It also provides some details on why you might want to track the fields within your network. If you are new to Link2Feed, we recommend you watch this system overview video first.

Any text in italicized blue provides details on updates that will be made to the fields and list options later in 2022. 

Definitions for the table below:

Field Name: The label for the field in the system.
Intake Tab: The name of the "tab" where the field appears on the client's profile.
Individuals: Individuals are the people who are selected on the Visit page under the “Who from the household is receiving services for this visit” section. If a field is for the "Individual," it means that it is captured at the individual level and not the household.
Household: Individuals are grouped into household profiles (“Households”) in Link2Feed based on the discretion of the user. “Household” reports count the entire household as a unit.
Client: The person whose name was at the top of the page when the visit was recorded. NOTE: The “Client” in reports is not necessarily the same thing as the “Primary Household Member” indicated in the household profile.
List Options: The options that appear underneath fields.
Customizable List
: If a field has a customizable list options, then the options that appear for that field can be customized by a network administrator. Later in 2022, Didn't Ask, Don't Know, and Prefer Not to Answer will be locked list options for all fields.
Label: The words you would like displayed in the system for each list option. Reporting is based on labels.
Parent Types: The category associated what a label. Some customizable fields have “Parent Types” that are used as a mapping of your custom options. For example,  for “Referred to," you might have a list option called “Main Street Salvation Army”, which would need to be mapped to the parent type “Emergency Shelter”. Not all fields have parent types.
Field Type: The field type determines the type of data that a user can enter into the field. The different types in Link2Feed are: Checkboxes- Select All That Apply, Date Field, Dropdown + Free Text, Dropdown- Select One, Dropdown + Select All That Apply, Free Text, Radio Buttons- Select One.

Field NameIntake TabIndividuals or HouseholdCan Be Disabled*Customizable List OptionsField TypeConsiderations
First Food Bank VisitPersonalHouseholdNoN/ADate FieldUsed to understand how long a client has been accessing services. This pulls into the Households: New vs. Existing section of the Statistics Report and is also available in the Time Series Report.
First and Last NamePersonalIndividualNoN/AFree TextKey part of client profiles and part of duplicate checking. Gathered for all members of the household. If clients do not feel comfortable providing their name, anonymous visits can also be configured. Can search for clients by first and/or last name.
Date of BirthPersonalIndividualNoN/ADate FieldEntering the date of birth calculates age. DOB is part of duplicate checking. Gathered for all members of the household. Can indicate that the date of birth is estimated. Can search for clients by date of birth.
(will be able to customize later in 2022)
Dropdown- Select One

Select Gender from drop-down options. Current fixed list options are Female, Male, Transgender, Other, Undisclosed.
Later in 2022: Gender Identity will be added to “Administration- Lists” with the parent types listed above. Users will be able to add additional gender options and map to the corresponding parent type.

Marital StatusPersonal IndividualYesNoRadio Buttons- Select OneMarital status of the client. Fixed List options are: Single, Married, Common-Law, Divorced, Separated, Widowed, Undisclosed. Many networks shut this field off as "relationship types" are also defined when adding household members.
Address (Street, State, County, City, Zip)PersonalHouseholdNoYes (City and County)Free TextClient Address, which is part of duplicate checking. Address finds latitude and longitude in the back end and plots on the map on Personal tab; also used to plot client location on Heat Map Report. Address field is integrated with an OpenStreetMap API to make address completion easier. If the client does not have housing, they can select an "No Fixed Address" checkbox. Can also search for clients by address.
Housing TypePersonalHouseholdYesYesRadio Buttons- Select OneHousing security has a strong tie to food security. This data can help with grant applications and other programming related to the root causes of poverty.
Email AddressPersonalIndividualYesN/ADropdown + Free TextBeneficial for organizations to collect so they can be in contact with clients about program changes, agency closures, etc.
Phone NumberPersonalIndividualYesN/ADropdown + Free TextBeneficial for pantries to collect so they can be in contact with clients about program changes, agency closures, etc. Can search for clients by phone number. Export will not show the type (Home, Mobile) of the phone number. 
ID TypePersonalIndividualYesYesDropdown + Free TextThis field is not often tracked, since most commodities programs can't ask for ID. Field includes an open text field which is double-encrypted, but networks using this field should encourage pantries not to put anything sensitive (i.e. a SSN). If the network is using barcode scanning, this field needs to be turned on.
LanguagesPersonalHouseholdYesNoDropdown- Select All That ApplyList of all the world's languages. Can specify pinned languages in network settings, so they appear at the top of the list. Having this data gives valuable reporting information at the state level. Helps with advocacy or understanding community language needs/needs for translation of materials. Link2Feed can add languages to the fixed list upon request.
Referred ByPersonalHouseholdYesYesRadio Buttons/Dropdown- Select OneField to determine how clients found out about the organization's services. Can be used for monitoring partnerships and understanding marketing effectiveness. Networks can customize the name of the referral sources to reflect the specific partners they have in their communities.

(will be able to turn off later in 2022)

(will be able to customize later in 2022)

Checkboxes- Select All That Apply

Mandatory for many USDA programs such as CSFP. The parent types use categories from the U.S. Census. They are decoupled from how USDA categorizes and census reporting, but can be grouped back together for reporting purposes. Fixed list options are: White/Anglo, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Native American, Asian, Alaska Native/Aleut/Eskimo, Middle Eastern/North African, Pacific Islander, Other, None, Undisclosed.
Later in 2022: Ethnicity will be added to “Administration- Lists” with the parent types listed above. Users will be able to add additional ethnicity options and map to the corresponding parent type.

Self-Identifies AsPersonalIndividualYesYesCheckboxes- Select All That ApplyIf the client identifies with any particular group. Networks can customize the options within and assign to parent types. Veteran and Disability are locked (will be able to unlock these options later in 2022)
RelationshipHousehold Member Pop-UpIndividualNoNoDropdown- Select OneField that specifies the relationship between the primary client and their household members. Fixed list options are: Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Child, Common-Law Partner, Friend, Grandchild, Grandparent, Other, Other Relative, Parent, Roommate, Sibling, Spouse, Ward, Undisclosed
Level of EducationProfileIndividualYesNoRadio Buttons- Select OneTracks the client's highest education level. Having this data can help determine the type of employment clients are eligible for or help identify clients for educational programs. This is especially relevant for organizations that provide wrap-around services or work with education/workforce development partners. Fixed list options are: Grade 0-8, Grade 9-11, GED, High School Diploma, Post Secondary (some), Trade School/Professional Accreditation, 2 Year Degree, 4 Year Degree, Master's Degree, PhD, Undisclosed.
Employment TypeProfileIndividualYesYes- some options are fixed but can add additional ones.Radio Buttons- Select OneTracks the clients' current employment type (note that only one can be selected). Some networks just track employment through the Income Sources section. Fixed list options are: Post-Secondary Student, Full Time, Part Time, None, Retired, Self-Employed, Undisclosed, Other.
IncomeMonthly IncomeIndividualNoYesDropdown-Select All that Apply or Free Text

Different options for tracking income:

  • Income Sources and Dollar Amount: 
  • Income Sources, No Dollar Amount: 
  • Total Monthly Income (coming later in 2022): Single numerical field for the total monthly household income
  • No Income (coming later in 2022): Will be able to turn off this field completely
Social ProgramsMonthly IncomeIndividualYesYesCheckboxes- Select All That ApplyTracks the social service programs that the client and household receive. The selections made here can define eligibility for TEFAP and other programs. Many want to track to understand what programs the clients may need to be referred to (ex. SNAP).
Monthly Household ExpensesMonthly IncomeHouseholdYesYesDropdown-Select All that ApplyNot common to track this field, but sometimes it is useful if the organization conducts wraparound services with their clients.
Dietary ConsiderationsDietary ConsiderationsHouseholdYesYesCheckboxes- Select All That ApplyThis field has its own tab. Can be helpful for food allocation, understanding health needs, common allergens and food preference advocacy.

*Field Can be Disabled= The network administrator can turn off this field, or keep it on but give agencies the choice of whether or not they want to track it.