Our mission is to provide everyone in the United States in need of a hotline or helpline service with easy access to all options that best match their needs. We're doing this by providing all hotlines, helpline, and chat lines with a free page on our site.
The only volunteer-built database in the US with all hotlines, helplines, text chat, and web chat services added from scratch. We have chosen this mission because agencies with similar databases charge others to license their listings.
Our database is open source and can be used for free by any nonprofit or school. We began building our database in March 2019, using only volunteers. By August 2022, we had close to 200,000 services, with detailed information about each service.
At the latest count, we have 250,000 hotlines, helplines, and chat services listed in our database. Each hotline at 4help.org has its own dynamic webpage, containing detailed information. We allow services to claim their pages and to update them.
Volunteers operate our agency only. We have no paid staff and no paid executives. ONLY 100% volunteers. Every volunteer is treated equally. If a volunteer wants to learn more or do more, then they can.
We have volunteers that work a few hours a week, and we have volunteers that work full-time. There is room for ANYONE who wants to join our team. To learn more, please visit our Volunteer Team Page.
The hotline industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries for upper management and executives working for nonprofit agencies whose missions include the operation of hotlines, helplines, and chat lines. We believe government oversight and industry-based regulations are sorely missing from the hotline industry. We hope that, over time, our work will position us to assist with what's needed to protect the integrity of the hotline industry.
Through our efforts on the Hotline Directory project, we have learned that no one knows how many hotlines operate in the US. When we began the project, we expected to find ten thousand hotlines, helplines, and chat lines. However, our estimates were not even close. As of winter 2022, we have found almost one million services in the US.
Our volunteers have identified hundreds of thousands of hotlines, helplines, and chat lines. And they have written descriptions about each, so people in need can easily search for the right service on our website. Our efforts have shown us that there are too many large, advertising-oriented, powerful hotline services. And many of these services cannot handle the flow of callers and texters. As a result, callers and texters are not receiving proper help.
These larger-sized nonprofit hotlines become inflated by dedicating their efforts and resources towards savvy advertising. Some larger services must route inbound calls to small services because they've invested so much into advertising their brand.
We invite everyone to search our directory to help decide which hotline might best meet people's needs/ Our long-term mission is to collect as much data as possible from hotline users, rating and reviewing their experiences with hotlines. We do not believe this data exists, and we believe the statistics such data will offer are invaluable. Of course, we plan to share all such data responsibly with researchers. They can use the data to generate statistics that could be used to motivate the hotline industry and it's volunteers to build a watchdog entity to oversee the industry and compile such things as hotline best practices. Bringing uniformity to the 100s of thousands of US hotlines is an extremely important goal. We're starting from scratch.
If you see that we're missing a hotline or helpline you know of, we ask that you kindly provide us with information about the missing service so we can add it to our directory. When claiming a hotline, please update your page by adding photos, videos, brochures, and other content to feature your agency's services.
Because there is no government or industry oversight of the enormous hotline industry, executives; pay goes unmonitored. This is not only a waste of money; it's a danger to the people who call hotlines expecting to receive expert services but meet with improperly trained volunteers. High school and college students staff many of these hotlines. They do their best, but we know that most are volunteering not because of their concern for people but because of their need to have a mandatory amount of volunteer hours for their resumes.