Glossary: Nonprofit Case Management Terms

Do you ever hear people using terms like closed loop referral or software as a service and find yourself wondering what it is that they actually mean? This blog post will help answer any questions about the definition of some of the popular terms you may have heard or read involving nonprofit organizations and case management technology.


Care coordination

Care coordination is the process of planning and organizing care activities with all participants, such as providers or family members, involved in achieving effective care for a client.

Case Manager 

A case manager is an individual who helps identify and arrange appropriate social service programs for clients. Another commonly used term for a case manager is social worker.

Closed loop referral

A closed loop referral means that information was provided back to the sender of the referral from the receiving organization about the outcome of the referral. Closed loop referrals allow the referral sender to know whether or not the referral was completed.

Cloud based software

A cloud based software is a software where the software applications run over the internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive.

Collective impact

Collective impact is an intentional way of working together and sharing information for the purpose of solving a complex social problem.

Community Based Organization (CBO)

Community based organization, like a non-profit agency, social services agency, or community resource. 

Community health

Community health is a branch of public health which focuses on people and their role as determinants of their own and other people's health.

Community health worker (CHW)

Community health workers are frontline public health workers who have a very close understanding of the community they serve. These individuals are trusted members of the community and work to provide a link between health and social services and members of the community.

Community network

A community network is a collection of all nonprofit organizations, social service organizations, and health systems in a community that work together to provide support in a community.

Continuum of care

A continuum of care is a program designed to work towards ending homelessness in a community by coordinating housing and services for homeless individuals.


Crowdfunding is a fundraising method commonly used by nonprofit organizations. It is the practice of raising a small amount of money from a large amount of people. It can also be referred to as social media funding, online fundraising, or peer-to-peer fundraising.


A donor is an individual or organization that provides financial support to nonprofit organizations.

Goal tracking

Goal tracking is the process of monitoring and measuring goals set by a nonprofit organization through observations and reporting. Goal tracking allows organizations to monitor how close they are to reaching previously set goals.


A grant is a way that the government or philanthropic organization provide funding to nonprofit organizations. There are a variety of different kinds of grants and eligibility requirements depending on the type of organization.

Intake form

An intake form is a questionnaire used to gather information and screen clients used by case managers.

Needs assessment

A needs assessment is a process for determining the needs of individuals and determining if there are any gaps that need to be addressed.

Nonprofit case management

Nonprofit case management is the process of assessing, planning, coordinating, and evaluating the needs of individuals to determine the services needed and resources available to assist those in need.

Nonprofit CRM

A nonprofit CRM is a software used for storing, organizing, and analyzing information of clients.


A program is a set of resources and activities that provide a specific service to a client to fulfill their needs.


A referral is when a recommendation is made for an individual to visit a social service organization for their services.

Referral directory

A referral directory is a library of information that provides a list of nonprofit organizations in a community to help connect people to the resources they need most.

Social determinants of health (SDOH)

Social determinants of health are the social and economic factors that influence the health of an individual. These include factors such as race, gender, income, education level, family support, and employment.

Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)

The social vulnerability index uses US census data to determine communities that may need support preparing for or recovering from hazardous events.

Software as a service (SaaS)

Softwares as a service is a software that is licensed on a subscription basis and is accessed online rather than installed to an individual computer.


A volunteer is a person who voluntarily expresses willingness to do a task without being paid.