On the Road Again

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The Daxko Reach Conference is Headed back to Nashville

Since last year’s Reach conference in Nashville was such a record-breaking hit, we decided to take this year’s conference back to the Music City for an encore! Dust off your cowboy boots and plan to join us for Reach 2015, our 12th annual customer conference, happening August 31 – September 2 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

We selected the Gaylord Opryland because we want our attendees to enjoy top-of-the-line amenities, luxurious guest rooms, exceptional service, and have access to several onsite restaurants and a highly rated spa. Located just steps away from the Grand Ole Opry, the Gaylord Opryland is a convenient location for enjoying Nashville history and culture while you’re in town.

We’ve also refreshed our Reach Website to make finding information and registering for the conference easier than ever. Be sure to check it out often – we’ll be adding more information about sessions, keynote speakers, and night events soon!

This year we’re expecting 300 to 400 YMCA, JCC, and community center professionals from all over North America, so it’s important to secure your registration and book your hotel room early. Early Bird pricing is available now through April 30, so don’t miss out.

We look forward to seeing you in the Music City for Reach 2015!


Team Competitions.002-001

Lessons From Jenga

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko | No Comments

I attended my first full Kick-Off this year. What an exciting time for team Daxko, as we gathered at Ross Bridge for a day of planning and competitive games. I was a member of the Gold Team, which, by the way, won the Top Chef competition. However, we didn’t fare so well in Friday’s Hunger Games.

While all of the Hunger Games were fun, and survivable, unlike their movie counterpart, the game of Jenga, which requires both physical and mental skill, especially captured my attention. Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks. Each removed block is then balanced on top of the tower, creating a progressively taller but less stable structure.

I watched excitedly as my team members successfully removed their blocks. Because I was standing near the end of the line, my choices were limited. Teammates told me to touch the blocks in order to discover a loose one. I made my decision and carefully tapped the block in order to remove it without causing the entire structure to crumble. While I was slowly easing the block out, my teammates and opponents shouted words of encouragement, which empowered me to set aside my doubts and remove the block.  Voila!  It came out and I placed it on top of the structure. I did it! With arms pummeling the air, I celebrated my successful move.

Jenga in Swahili means “to build,” and at Daxko we believe in team building. As I look back on the Hunger Games, yes, we were competitive, but the teams were bound by a sense of building. I love the fact that we are encouraged to build something individually, as a team, and as the Daxko nation. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work with such talented and gifted teammates. I can’t wait to see what the New Year of 2015 will bring.


Member and Donor Engagement 2.0

By | Customer Experience, Engage, Engagement, Industry, Membership, Mission Delivery, Uncategorized | No Comments
Taking Member/Donor Engagement to the next level

I have a niece named Annabelle- she’s very advanced and is, naturally, an awesome kid. One of the things I love watching Annabelle do is meeting a new child. It’s pretty amazing for kids at that age. They have no fear at all, be it on a playground or in your child watch. If you have a program in your association that has young kids from ages 3-5, take a moment and observe the way that age group interacts.

They just go right up and say “Hi I’m Annabelle, wanna play?” Usually the other child wants to play and so they begin some kind of super fun activity. If only it was that easy to have our adult members interact and engage with one another. As adults it’s not that easy for us to walk up to a stranger and introduce ourselves.

Just think of the member connections that could be made if our members could introduce themselves to one another. Most members come in, go to their treadmill or bike and leave. This is why we as YMCA, JCC, or community center staff need to figure out ways to disrupt their isolation and help them engage with other members.

How can you prepare your facility to help engage?

I’ve gotten to know and play around in Daxko Engage and I’ve had a huge revelation, I had it wrong. As a membership director I was always looking at how my staff could engage more members. Front desk staff, wellness floor staff, group X instructors were all asked to connect with members. This is great and important but it’s nearly impossible. The ratio of members to staff doesn’t really work if you’re looking at moving members to a higher level of engagement. I’m introducing a concept I call Engagement 2.0.

Engage 2.0

This concept is connecting members to one another. It’s very easy using Daxko Engage to connect staff to members or the Y to members. They have all kinds of reminders about e-blasts, phone calls or mailers and that’s awesome. That’s helpful and can help move the needle but taking things to the next level is Engaging members to one another. Engage 2.0

How can we design our spaces, our programs, or events and member appreciation activities to help members connect to one another? Let’s use our seniors as a case study. They connect with one another, they sit and chat and visit. That’s why senior retention rates are usually higher than other membership categories. I think we can begin to figure out this engagement piece if we think about how we can help connect members to one another. So how do we do this? It’s going to take a village and that village is your staff! All staff- part time and full time staff- they need to be leaders on this quest.

Look at this also as a donor cultivation piece. The more members you have who are engaged the more likely they are to donate to the annual campaign. The highest level of member engagement is for them to be a donor.

Questions you can ask your staff to help brainstorm
  • How can we be intentional about creating spaces for conversations? Think about how you can create a shared experience members can talk about.
    • Group X class has this kind of connection built into it. If I go to a class I can talk with a stranger after class or before class about our shared experience of class. This gives me a way to connect with other members. This is why Group X instructors are critical to your YMCA, JCC, or community center. They build the best relationships! I have coworkers that remind me, not everyone goes to a Group X class.
    • Member Challenges are a great way to connect members to one another. A member challenge would be “Do an Iron Man in a month” or “train for the local marathon”. Make this as public as possible- have the members sign up and put something that tracks their progress in an open space. This gives people the chance to share their progress and strike up a conversation with members about the challenge.
    • Group volunteer activities are great ways to get people talking and connecting.
  • What activities can we do that connect members?
    • Family night is a great way to do this and it helps families spend time together with other families.
    • Specific parent/child activities like “Mommy and me tea” or “Daddy Daughter dance”
  • Is there a way to make some spaces more conducive for sitting and chatting?
    • Some YMCAs don’t have a large lobby so this might prove to be difficult
    • Ask the question, is there a creative way to make this space comfortable for sitting and gathering?

Imagine YMCA or JCC  staff changing their thought processes around member engagement and encouraging front line staff to help connect members to one another. If you can imagine this, you will be able to see people move up the engagement line from low → medium → highly engaged.

This also helps YMCA or JCC staff not feel it’s their job to connect with every member that comes in, which can be daunting. Frame this in a way that makes them a catalyst for engagement and connectivity.

Your staff have great ideas on how to do this and I bet would love to spend time helping you brainstorm fun ways to make this happen. It’s a small adjustment to framing things but this kind of small thing can help move members!