3 Vital Steps as You Initiate a Strategic Planning Process

By | Board, Engagement, Industry, Leadership, Mission Delivery | No Comments

Strategic planning doesn’t have to be a painful process. It’s necessary to maintain and revise a strategic plan frequently in order to ensure your nonprofit is meeting goals and achieving it’s mission. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, “Ideally, as staff and board engage in the process, they become committed to measurable goals, approve priorities for implementation, and also commit to revisiting the organization’s strategies on an ongoing basis as the organization’s internal and external environments change.”

As you begin your strategic planning with your board, here are three steps to get started:

  1.  Ask yourself this question:  What significant measurable community impact do we want the YMCA to produce over the next 5 years? Your answers to this question will be the framework for all your discussions moving forward.  If you are having trouble answering the question, start with the things you are already doing. How do you take those efforts to the next level? Is there a logical next step that stems from something you’re already doing and doing well? This may lead you to new programs and services you can offer your community!  Thinking big here is not a problem, but once you have some ideas down you need to whittle your thoughts down to be clear, concise, compelling, and challenging. According to Wes Bender of Daxko T2 Consulting, “With a clear, concise, compelling and courageous plan, each action of the organization becomes self-reinforcing and creates more options that are beneficial. Each victory during the strategic planning process is a step to clear the path for your organization’s future.”
  2. Review the data:  Daxko’s T2 Consulting group advises YMCA, JCC, and other community nonprofits to base their plans on concrete facts. This includes operations or engagement data, community research, board and staff insights, and societal trends. Sifting through vast amounts of data can be challenging but it’s important to know where trends are emerging and where you can have a meaningful impact in your community. Need help getting started? Consultants can offer expert resources to help you mine and sift through your organization’s data stores. They may also offer help accessing and deciphering societal and community trends.
  3. Set priorities and expectations: Once you have a solid answer to how you want to impact your community and you have the research to best channel your efforts, it’s time to prioritize. You can’t do everything and be everything to your community, so you’re going to have to pick and choose based on your strengths. “All current operations and new development should be placed into categories,” says T2 Consultant, Tom Massey. Those categories are: Top Priority, Future Priority, Ongoing Work, and Reduced Emphasis. By placing all your efforts into buckets, you get a really clear idea of everything you’re organization is doing including where you might be spread thin, and where you might be able to scale back.

By following these initial steps you save time and stress later down the line. The next step in the process often involves assigning a team for the planning process and if you have already begun working on these three things you can more easily commit to the measurable, important goals that make your organization and your community a better place.

Daxko Bham Skyline

Daxko Named Most Admired Technology Company in Birmingham

By | Building a Company, Community, Culture, Industry, Life at Daxko, Technology, Workplace | No Comments

For the third year in a row, Daxko has been named the most admired technology company in Birmingham, Alabama. Daxko fosters a culture of hard work, collaboration, innovation, and fun and the benefits of that are an increased visibility amongst Birmingham companies (and technology companies in particular).

Daxko CEO, Dave Gray has always championed our unique company culture and it shows in everything we do, from twice-yearly volunteer “Impact Days” to FREE Friday lunches for the company.  Read more about Dave’s emphasis on culture and it’s role in company success in this blog post from earlier this year.

But, more than a competitive advantage, Daxko’s culture influences Birmingham. By creating a unique and vibrant company culture, Daxko is paving the way for other companies in Birmingham — particularly technology companies — to do the same. It makes sense that we not only focus on our company culture but we also work to showcase that culture to others. Recently Daxko has played host to BarCamp Birmingham, TechBirmingham, HASS, BBA’s African American Business Council, and others. By showcasing our company culture perhaps others may be inspired to create a unique company culture of their own.


My Daxko Story

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko | One Comment

One of the things I love about working at Daxko is hearing all our team members’ unique stories of how they came to hear about the company and why they chose to work here. I’d like to share my Daxko story.

I was hired in 2012 as a part-time Member Engagement Representative for the Impact Services Team. I was in grad school working toward my Master’s degree in English Composition and Rhetoric with the goal of teaching college-level English. I had previously spent a year teaching middle school, but I quickly realized it was not my forte.

I fell in love with Daxko instantly. The vibrant office space was a huge bragging point when I explained to friends and family about where I worked – I mean, we have rooms called Cotton Candy and Travolta! I was super excited about the free coffee and sodas and free lunch with the whole company on Fridays. I also became friends with my teammates immediately, and I felt like everything I did throughout the day had a purpose. When a full-time position for Impact Services Trainer opened up, I began to reevaluate whether I really wanted to pursue a career as a college professor. After a lot of consideration, I applied for the job… and got it! One thing that still sticks out in my mind to this day is while I was going through the rigorous interview process for the position, our CEO Dave approached me and said, “I heard you applied for the job, and I wanted to say thank you for putting your name in the hat.” This encounter really solidified how different Daxko is from other companies – our CEO makes a point to get to know team members individually. He hosts Friday morning Q&A sessions where anyone from the company can ask him any question (even tough ones), and he also hosts Communication Lunches where he takes 2 or 3 team members to eat and encourages them to give him candid feedback on anything related to the company.

I began 2013 in my new position and began revamping the training program for new Member Engagement Representatives. One of my first training groups had 14 people in it, so I really had to hit the ground running. The work I was doing was familiar – creating training materials and activities were reminiscent of my time as a teacher. But at the end of the day, I didn’t go home frustrated or with work that would keep me up late into the night. And I found myself looking forward to going to the office each day. Initially, I was afraid I might have a hard time integrating with the full-time team since I was the new gal on the block, but they made me feel very welcome and always had my back. That’s another thing I love about Daxko – we have a very rigorous interview process, including a peer interview, to ensure we hire the right people.

Impact Services teammates: Kayla Ann, Courtney, me, and Tara

Impact Services teammates: Kayla Ann, Courtney, me, and Tara


2014 marked the beginning of a new chapter in my career at Daxko. I joined the Launch and Education Team as a Software Trainer. This was a big step for me – prior to this position, I had never traveled on my own. Not only did I feel like I was making a big impact by building relationships with our customers while teaching them how to use our software, but I was also gaining a lot of independence by traveling by myself. I never thought I would brave driving through several feet of snow in Marquette, MI, trek through the Paradise wildflower meadow at Mt. Rainier, or see Andy Warhol’s grave by myself. Of course, I didn’t always have to travel on my own. Some of my best memories of being a trainer were touring Fenway Park with Philip Q., experiencing Manhattan for the first time with several of my teammates, and spending time in Orange County, CA with Lauren B.

View of Lake Superior from Marquette, MI

View of Lake Superior from Marquette, MI


After a little over a year as Software Trainer, I was promoted to Senior Software Trainer. In this role, I got back to my roots and handled more internal team member trainings while serving as lead trainer for some of our large customer launches. During this time, a position opened up on Daxko’s Marketing team. I had been interested in marketing for a while– as much as I enjoy teaching and training, I love writing and creative processes more. I was really nervous about applying for the marketing position because I knew if I got the job, I would have to step way out of my comfort zone. With a little encouragement from Lauren B. and my husband Michael, I took the leap and began the interview process. And here I am, now the Daxko Nation Marketing Manager. Now, I get to share my love for the company with my teammates, recruits, and many others.

As you can see, I’ve worn many hats during just three years with the company. I think that’s the thing I love most about Daxko – there is so much room to grow your career, and so many supportive people eager to see you succeed.