How we work

U.S. Digital Response (USDR) partners directly with governments to serve the immediate needs of the public. If you are experiencing a challenge delivering critical services to your constituents, we can help — at no cost.

USDR staff members and our skilled volunteer technologists will work with your team to understand your challenges and get you the right tools. We can help you quickly deliver critical services to the public, even if you’re not quite sure what you need.

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How USDR partners with governments

When you work with USDR, you can expect a team that approaches the work with humility, embraces the challenges you are facing, and builds sustainable solutions your organization can maintain.

Deep dive projects in our current focus areas

As needs evolve, we shape programs to focus on government priorities, allowing us to do sustained work with partners while exploring macro-level opportunities to connect the dots on similar challenges being faced across the country.

Quick, targeted projects across a broad range of needs

Our experts work with your team to understand your challenges, and get you the right tools to deliver critical services to the people who need them — all within a few days to weeks. Our solutions are quick to implement and easy to maintain.

Reusable products, frameworks, and tools for common needs

When we find something that works, we develop it further and share it with our network so that these off-the-shelf solutions can help solve problems across the country.

Sharing best practices from across the nation

We connect government and non-profit partners within our network to learn from one another. We aim to help government partners leverage lessons learned from other jurisdictions and make it easy for them to replicate solutions to shared challenges.

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Some of our partners

How to get started

1

Contact us

Filling out this short form tells us about your background and your high-level needs.

2

Team conversation

We’ll set up an introductory call to understand your needs and find out where we can help. If we have an existing offering that might work, we’ll demo it to you. If not, we’ll talk about a new project with a dedicated project team.

3

Match with project team

We match you with a team of skilled technologists to problem-solve right along with you.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to pay for USDR’s services?

No. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers and funders, USDR’s services are pro bono. Your project team may recommend a third-party tool that requires a subscription fee, but whenever possible, we opt for inexpensive low-code or no-code solutions. We only recommend tools we believe are well-suited for your needs, and we always discuss the cost implications of ongoing maintenance before we finalize our recommendations and approach.

Does USDR partner on all requests for assistance?

Unfortunately no. We prioritize requests that address critical public needs, would benefit from USDR's skill set, and allow us to partner directly with the service provider. We can also consult on internal capacity building and technology procurement. When we can’t offer support, we will do our best to suggest other resources.

What is the procurement process to work with USDR?

Because we do not charge for our services, our partners often do not have to engage with their internal procurement process to work with us. In some jurisdictions, however, we may qualify as a vendor under your procurement rules. If questions arise, we suggest asking your procurement department about working with pro bono service providers. We are always happy to engage informally while you navigate the rules of your particular organization.

Our work needs to remain confidential. Can we still work with you?

Yes. We will never share work publicly without your permission. In addition, all of our volunteers and staff sign a Volunteer Oath that includes a commitment to not speak publicly about the details of their work or partners without explicit permission.

Help! Something broke!

We’re always happy to reconnect with past partners. If you run into trouble with something USDR previously worked on, feel free to reach out at intake@usdigitalresponse.org.

I have other questions. Can I talk to someone?

Yes, send us an email at intake@usdigitalresponse.org.

Can I trust volunteers?

Yes. Our volunteers are empathetic, communicative, and experienced professionals who volunteer their time to support USDR projects. They approach their work with humility and take our Volunteer Oath.

Will USDR work on multiple projects with my organization?

It depends. The team conversation informs a shared understanding of how best to approach the work. While we typically work on one project at a time with partners, we have done multiple projects with many of our partners.

What does USDR work on?

We don’t focus on a particular policy area or come to the table with a set range of skills. Our unique staffing model allows us to provide support wherever you need. We have done communications strategy and content design, user and client research, and technical work including engineering and analysis. On staff we have engineers, developers, marketers, researchers, project managers, and policy experts who oversee all of our work and advise our project teams.

Can we share publicly about USDR’s partnership with us?

Yes, we are always more than happy to publish stories from our partners through our own communication channels, as well as to work jointly to share through our partners or elsewhere. Our communications and marketing team is happy discuss opportunities to share our joint work. You can reach them at marketing-team@usdigitalresponse.org.

What's the catch?

There is no catch. Our services are really and truly free thanks to the generosity of our funders and volunteers, and driven by our desire to help government work for everyone. If you are interested in sharing the story of our partnership publicly, we are happy to, but there is no obligation to do so.

I don’t have any technical staff on my team. Can I still work with you?

Yes, we customize the work we do to the skill sets and resources available to you. Many of the tools we recommend are easy for even nontechnical staff to use and maintain. If we think the right solution will require ongoing technical support, we will help you identify a way to do that within your organization.

Can you help me pick the right vendor/hire the right person?

Yes, we are happy to advise you ahead of launching a procurement or hiring process. We can help you make surethat you are well situated to get what or who you need.

Where can I find USDR's Terms of Service?

You can find our Terms and Conditions for Partner Participation here. By accepting services through USDR, you are agreeing to these terms. If you do not understand any of the terms or request amendments, please contact us before starting a project.

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