Agency User Guide

This guide is for agencies that have been approved to submit referrals Fresh Start Furniture Bank. Please use the information to understand how our web site works and our policies.

Referral Policy

  • Clients are allowed 1 referral per household to help them furnish their home. The referral is valid for 30 days.
  • An appointment needs to be scheduled before the client can visit our store.
  • Clients are allowed a maximum of 2 visits to our store.
  • We prefer that clients select their furniture and home-goods during their first visit, but we realize that some clients may be unsure as to what items we have and are concerned about spending money to rent a truck. As a result, clients can use their first visit to select home-goods only, but they will not be able to spend any time looking at furniture.
  • All items must betaken on the day that the client comes in. Items my not be placed on hold for later pick-up.
  • When a client comes in, they will be handed a tablet which will allow them to shop online. A Personal Shopper will then work with the client to assist them with selecting their items. We strongly suggest that clients preview our inventory before coming in. They can do this by viewing https://freshstartfurniturebank.org/wp/inventory-available/
  • On our web site we our Customer Policies document, which describes what will happen when they arrive, how they will shop, what type of vehicle that they should bring, etc. This document can easily be translated into Spanish or Portuguese. We suggest that you print out and give to your clients as it will help them understand how to utilize our services.
  • If there is a situation where a client needs additional furniture after their referral has closed, please contact us so that we can review your request. If the issue relates to bed bugs, we will need a letter from an exterminator showing that the bed bug problem has been resolved.

How to use our website

  • Go to our website www.FreshStartFurnitureBank.org and click on the For-Agencies tab.
  • Click on the Login button which will take you to a login page
  • Agencies are listed by the town that they are located in. Note that if you are in the greater Boston area, you may need to look under both Boston, and for example, Dorchester.
  • Select your agency from the drop-down box & press Submit.
  • Select your user name from the list, enter your password and then press Submit.
  • If you forgot your password, click on the “Click here to reset your password” link.
  • You will then be brought back to the Agencies page, except that you will now have buttons for the following options:

How to submit a referral

  • The Referral form automatically fills in agency contact information from your account, so be sure to create separate logins (see below) for each person submitting referrals.
  • Do not submit a referral if the client will not be able to visit the store within 30 days.
  • Enter the information regarding the client into the form.
  • We send welcome messages and reminders via text and/or e-mail in either English, Spanish or Portuguese, so be sure to select the language which they will understand.
  • If the client has a cell phone, please provide the number and allow Fresh Start to send text messages to the client. This will also allow the client to schedule their own appointments.
  • When submitting a referral, we strongly suggest that you utilize the “Special requests/notes” box to confidentially provide information such as their needs and any information about their housing situation which may be helpful.
  • Press the Submit button.
  • You will receive an e-mail stating that the referral has been submitted.
  • The client will also receive text and/or e-mail welcome messages.
  • After you submit the referral, you will be allowed to schedule an appointment so the clients can visit our store. (See instructions below.) If you can’t schedule an appointment when you’re submitting the referral, the client will have to contact you at a later date to schedule it, or they can schedule their own appointments via an automated text messaging system. Fresh Start does not schedule appointments for clients.
  • When the referral is closed, you will receive a report showing what items the client received.

How to schedule an appointment

  • Select the client from the list of clients with open referrals.
  • Click on either “Schedule Appointment” or “Cancel Appointment”. If you need to reschedule, cancel the existing appointment and the schedule a new one.
  • Select the date that they want to come in.
  • Select the time slot that is available on that date.
  • Enter any additional information that we need to about the client’s visit.
  • Press the Schedule Appointment button.
  • Remind the client that they need to show up at least 15 minutes before their appointment time.
  • If they don’t speak English, tell the client to bring a translator. We have a very limited number of volunteers who speak Spanish or Portuguese.
  • If the client will need to rent a truck, be sure that they reserve it well in advance and pick it up the evening before their appointment. Trucks are often not available when promised and/or it takes much longer to check-out than expected.

How to update your contact information

  • Use the Update Info button to update your contact information

How to create an account for someone else

  • If there are other people in your organization who need to submit referrals, click on the Create an Account button to create accounts for them.