Data is Meaningless (Not Really – Hear Me Out)

By | Board, Industry, Leadership, Mission Delivery, Organizational Health, Trends Reports & Surveys | No Comments

As the new Daxko Product Manager focused on all things reporting and analytics across Daxko products, I spend 100% of my time listening to users, documenting needs, and forming and managing plans to ensure that what we do now will improve what is delivered to customers in the short and long terms. This is sincerely fun stuff.

In my 13 years of working with data in different jobs — from U.S. Space Command (yep, you can ask me about satellites) to federal child welfare benchmarking (happy to chat about child well-being trends) to Y-USA and Y data (program, membership and impact – you name it!), my hands-down favorite thing is this…

Data doesn’t answer questions well.

Nope, I’m not kidding.

Intuitively, we all know this. If your blood pressure is 160 over 110, you think, “that’s not good” … BUT if it was 170 over 120 when you measured it two weeks ago, then all of a sudden those very same numbers make you think, “I’m improving! This is good (or at least better)”. Those “bad looking” numbers are telling you you’re moving in the right direction.

As you might infer, “how was that collected?”, “so what?”, “compared to what?” and “well, that depends … “ are my go-to responses. That’s because if we don’t answer these questions we are in danger of not understanding what is actually going on and making bad decisions as a result.

Data need to be many things to be meaningful. At a minimum, it needs the following:

#1: It needs to be correct. A nurse measuring your blood pressure needs to not only know how to use the exact model of the cuff they put on your arm, they also need to read, remember, and write-down the right two numbers while using it. To go one further, the doctor who reads what the nurse wrote has to be able to decipher his or her handwriting or the whole process is nullified. The industry word for this is data integrity. It’s self-explanatory why it’s vital, but it’s also very easily not achieved — or even realized if you don’t have it.

#2: It needs to be presented in context. This is how we know what’s good, bad, or trending in a certain direction. In this example, we have blood pressure guidelines for healthy ranges. Not only do those exist, but there are different ranges for how old you are, if you’re male or female, or if you’re on a plan with your doctor to reach a certain goal. Heck, they can even change over time as new research emerges. Good health care providers will also tell you to consider this information in combination with other factors, such as family history, diet, weight, etc.

#3: It needs to be digestible. You could have access to the best information in the world, but if you can’t explain what you have, you can’t use it. If we all needed to explain systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) of blood pressure, many would feel overwhelmed or get stuck on information that doesn’t answer their questions. In this example, if #1 and #2 above are done well, it’s much easier to take-in your blood pressure ratio than also having to take-in all the research behind it.

I’m drawn to analysis and reporting because good data is different than available data. I would argue that meaningful data is more important than Big Data, we’ve-always-collected-that data, and that’s-interesting data.

So let’s revise what’s above…

Data collected via sound methodologies and presented in appropriate context in a way that can be understood answers questions VERY well.

Daxko is working to give customers accurate, relevant, digestible data to our users. Some of the ways we are making this happen:
  • Improving our data warehouse so all customers will have just the right (depending on the needs of their organization) access to the  data they need
  • Elevating the custom reports user experience to provide easy, quick data points in context that will make a difference to the organization
  • A quick and accurate measurement of the positive difference you are making with your members (think of it like a cause-driven nonprofit NPS Score)
  • Refining the Donor Index to allow fundraisers the ability to create targeted outreach  campaigns just for donors

You can reach me at if you have thoughts about Daxko data and reporting – I’d love to talk to you.

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Daxko’s Sorting Ceremony

By | Culture, Life at Daxko | One Comment

If you know me at all, you know that there are two things I really cannot live without: fudgy brownies from Crestline Bagel, and Harry Potter. In fact, I love Harry Potter so much, that I recently made most of my teammates take the Sorting Hat Quiz on Pottermore.

If you don’t know much about Harry Potter, I request you immediately go watch all the movies and read the books (but that is a little more demanding). However, if you’re pressed for time, let me give you a quick run-down.

The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is divided into four houses. Those houses are:

  • Hufflepuff: Hufflepuffs are defined by their love of family, comfort, and living things.
  • Ravenclaw: Ravenclaws are defined by curiosity and the love of learning.
  • Gryffindor: Gryffindors are primarily defined by its daring, desire for fame, and great exploits.
  • Slytherin: Slytherins are seeking individual greatness – but Slytherins look out for their own group and see themselves as very unified.

The Sorting Hat sorts first years into their houses, and has a little rhyme about each:

You might belong in Gryffindor,

Where dwell the brave at heart,

Their daring, nerve, and chivalry

Set Gryffindors apart;

You might belong in Hufflepuff,

Where they are just and loyal,

Those patient Hufflepuffs are true

And unafraid of toil;

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,

if you’ve a ready mind,

Where those of wit and learning,

Will always find their kind;

Or perhaps in Slytherin

You’ll make your real friends,

Those cunning folks use any means

To achieve their ends.

So, you might be wondering…what does this have to do with working at Daxko? Well, I like to think that each house has their own work style, and that the people that fall into certain houses adapt the work style of their house and house mates.

Let’s give it a run down.

  • Hufflepuffs love others and are very loyal. This makes them the best team players that any team could ever have. They will always be willing to set their work aside and help other people, and not seek any credit for helping out a friend. They can always be found explaining something to a teammate, or working with someone to get a tough job done.

Some Daxko Hufflepuffs: McKee S., Alex L.

  • Ravenclaws are the very methodical workers. They aren’t satisfied with closing a case or relaying an answer until they fully understand exactly what the problem is, and what the solution will be. You can always count on a Ravenclaw to look into the “why” instead of knowing just the “what”.

Some Daxko Ravenclaws: Sam G., Justin W., and Janna B.

  • Gryffindors are unafraid of any tough task or project that may come their way. They will be the first ones to step up to tackle a difficult project. Gryffindors don’t rest until the job is done, and they are usually the ones you can find working during lunch or staying late. They love to be the hero – and love to mention that they are.

Some Daxko Gryffindors: Colby W., Nate W.

  • Slytherins will do anything in their power to achieve an end goal. You can always find a Slytherin asking the tough questions: “How can I do this? What is expected of me? What will the outcome be?”. Slytherins are also known for liking unity, but preferring to work solo – it’s the easiest way to make sure all the I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Slytherins are driven and work very competitively, because they love to be the best.

Some Daxko Slytherins: Deeanna S., Josh A.

If you’re not quite ready to jump on the Hogwarts Express, fear not. You can still visit Pottermore to sign up and get sorted into your own house. Now the real question is…where will the Sorting Hat place you?

Deeanna S. is a Customer Success Advocate (soon-to-be Software Trainer) and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

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Top Takeaways: Tips for Engaging New Members Webcast

By | Engage, Engagement, Industry, Webcasts | No Comments

Daxko recently hosted an engagement webcast featuring Cassi McDowell, Engagement Specialist at the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, and Christin Baker, Daxko Engage Adoption Specialist. We’re here sharing the top takeaways from the webcast, as well as resources to help you keep your new members engaged.

When polled:

  • 41% of attendees said that their own organizations had not established a culture of engagement but that it was coming soon
  • 36% said the already had a culture of engagement and
  • 22% said they did not have a culture of engagement

Now, on to our takeaways.

Utilize technology to create deeper connections.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.09.27 AMThe Cincinnati Y recently began using Daxko Engage to track member engagement. They used to write paper notes about new member interests, but these were difficult to keep track of. With Daxko Engage, staff have the ability to track member interests on member profile pages, allowing staff who engage with members to have a deeper, more targeted conversation.

Note: No matter what product or tool you use, you can it’s important to keep track of conversations with members to better understand their needs and goals. Non-Daxko Engage users could utilize a well-planned spreadsheet to track member goals.

Daxko Engage users also have the ability to create follow-up tasks for other staff members. For example, if a member mentioned an interest in youth soccer for their child, the staff can have the appropriate person follow-up and encourage them to register.

Create targeted initiatives to take new members on a journey.

The Cincinnati Y also utilizes Daxko Engage to execute a targeted new member program. McDowell explained that it’s like the new member is taking a journey with their Y. The Cincinnati Y’s program is six weeks and begins with a welcome email, then a phone call one week later, followed by several additional touch points. The last email is a mission email that explains the Y’s annual campaign. McDowell said the mission email at the end is an important step because it explains how the Y is different from other health and wellness organizations. “It’s so important to help members know and understand the Y’s nonprofit status,” McDowell explains. The mission email is informational and comes from a member of the development staff that can follow up with the member if necessary.

Don’t forget about other new member timeframes.

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati experiences two busy new member seasons. The first happens as expected in January where people are rushing to join and set goals. McDowell’s branch has three pools and outdoor amenities galore so they experience an influx of new members for the summer season. These memberships, she explained, have less of a rushed feeling to them. These members join to experience their Y for the summer but they may stay all year if they become engaged. Think of all types of new members when creating new member initiatives. You may want to even think about adding a special touchpoint for different types of memberships.

The new member engagement efforts at the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati are paying off. The Powel Crosley Jr. branch (McDowell’s branch) has achieved a 4% increase in retention of family, adult, and young adult member units since launching Daxko Engage.

This webinar was part one of an ongoing thought leadership series: Establishing a Culture of Engagement. While Daxko will be hosting the series, the focus will be on highlighting progressive member-based nonprofits with the people, processes, and technology in place to better engage their members.


7 Ways to Gain Major Brownie Points with Your IT Team

By | Culture, Life at Daxko, Technology | No Comments

Okay, everyone knows I don’t work in IT. However, the guys on Daxko’s IT Team are my friends, I call Steve K. “Uncle Steve,” and my husband is a Network Analyst and IT specialist for his company – so I hear many stories about the work they do and how they could do it better. I really respect and appreciate IT because without them, the workplace wouldn’t run smoothly. And honestly, even if you’re not in IT, it’s still your responsibility to be a good steward of the technology and devices you’re provided through your company. Here are 7 great tips for doing just that:

#1: Restart your computer when there’s a problem. The first question IT is going to ask when you come to them with a problem is “Have you restarted your computer?” Rebooting can often fix a multitude of issues, such as slowness, internet problems, or a program using too much memory. While rebooting isn’t a cure-all and there are sometimes other issues that need to be taken care of, you should always try it first before reaching out to IT.

#2: Submit a ticket instead of asking face to face. Tickets are better than walking over to the IT Team’s workspace because tickets allow them to document, prioritize, and efficiently work through requests. This benefits the company as a whole.

#3: Utilize Dropbox’s selective sync feature. We recently began using Dropbox for Business, and our IT team provided several training sessions to show how easy it is to use. One thing they discussed was how to turn on selective sync for both PCs and Macs. What is selective sync? It’s a feature that allows you to select only the folders you want to be synced on your computer, saving you a ton of space. If a teammate tells me that their computer is running slow, I immediately ask them if they’re using selective sync (you’re welcome, IT friends!) Think about it – Daxko is a big company with a lot of different teams who are all using Dropbox. That means there are multitudes of folders and files housed in our Dropbox account, and chances are, you do not need all of these files at your fingertips. If you’re not on the Sales team, for example, why would you sync the Sales folder to your Dropbox desktop app? Sync only the folders you need, and your computer will serve you better.

#4: Check the room calendar in Outlook. Ever walk to your meeting room only to find that someone else is already using it? When you’re booking a meeting, it’s important to take a quick look at the room calendar, not just your personal calendar, to make sure your meeting shows up. Also, make sure to choose “Meeting Request” instead of “Appointment”.

#5: Speak up about problems. IT is always ready to help, but they don’t always know about the issues team members encounter. If you experience a weird problem, chances are other team members could also experience the issue. Make sure to tell IT so they can fix it.

#6: Don’t open strange emails! This should go without saying, but if you receive an email that just seems off, don’t open it. Check to see who the sender is, what time the email was sent, and what the attachment name is. If it’s not something you’re expecting, forward it to the IT team to review. Or better yet, delete it and remove it from your Trash folder.

#7: Never open links or attachments from people or sites you’re not familiar with. Do you want a virus? I didn’t think so. Downloading attachments or clicking links from unfamiliar sites puts the entire network at risk, so just don’t do it!

You’ve got the info, so put it to action! Now is a great time to give your work habits a checkup to help yourself and your IT Team work more efficiently and effectively.

PS: In addition to brownie points, the Daxko IT Team also welcomes real brownies delivered to their pod.

Janna B. is the Daxko Nation Marketing Manager (and honorary member of the IT Team) who wishes she could’ve experienced the late 1960s/1970s and wants to train sea lions.