Web Resources for all YMCAs: An Introduction to Open Y

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We live in a world of resource constraints. That’s true no matter your budget. At some point, the need always surpasses the ability to meet it. What’s a good solution? I think it’s all about fighting our inner two-year-old and sharing more.

If you need a WIFM (what’s in it for me), how about innovation and growth? When teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen, amazing things can come out of it. When everyone in a group is equally invested in the greater goal, the result is everyone working faster, finding mistakes more easily, and innovating better. Drawing on the knowledge of others is crucial in getting to the best result. This concept has spawned an entire movement of sharing.

Ever heard of open source software or collaborative work environments? These are two examples in the technology world where individuals come together and contribute to something in the hopes of making it better. Just like our parents told us, the concept of sharing is wildly successful. And now, sharing is impacting a non-profit movement that Daxko has been supporting for 10 years: the YMCAs. Behold the Open Y initiative.

In 2016, a small group of Ys recognized that they had access to modern, engaging website development resources that weren’t available to all Ys. Rather than taking the path of least resistance and merely hoping someone else would solve the problem, these leaders came together and decided to be the change by developing their content management systems on the open source functionality, Drupal 8. What this means is that every Y can now make use of the development that these few pioneers started. And every time someone develops something new with this source, they can publish it for others to use as well.  At the Open Y Summit last week, it was invigorating to see this trend of collaboration come to life and open the eyes of 130 people, all focused on bringing greater opportunity to the YMCA movement.

Working outside of your own association can seem tedious and time-consuming. However, as the Open Y has already shown, bringing unique minds together is worth it because when a group of people focuses on achieving a big, common goal they create new, synergistic energy. This is how dreams of moon shots become reality. As a vested partner in the YMCA movement, I’m honored to be able to contribute to this new reality.

Want to learn more about Open Y and see how you can play a role in change?

Register to attend “An Introduction to Open Y” on Thursday, October 12, at 1:00pm CST. Nathan Maehren (Sr. VP, Digital at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities) and Courtney Glover (Director of Digital Strategy at YMCA of Greater Houston), both part of the original group that started Open Y, will walk us through how this initiative came to be and how you can help it grow.

How Non-traditional Competition will Impact the Future of Membership

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For a long time YMCAs, JCCs, and community-centers have faced increasing competition from for-profit clubs. The new wellness landscape has become even more complex with younger demographic groups (you know who you are millennials) spurring trends like boutique chains like Pure BarreOrange Theory, and CrossFit, experiential races like Tough Mudder and Color Run, YouTube fitness celebs like Blogilates, or even newer virtual solutions from old players like Jillian Michaels and Weight Watchers.

Non-traditional competition deserves a forward-thinkng solution. At Daxko, we are committed to providing technology that supports our customers as they face these new challenges. We’ve done a lot of research on the future of membership and we are currently testing a potential solution for our customers. More on that in the months to come. Along the way, here’s what we’ve learned that will help member-based nonprofits differentiate themselves from the pack.

1. Play up the mission – Use your nonprofit status as a differentiator. Promote the causes that you champion and that their membership supports. Work to be specific too. According to a Millennial Marketing blog post, specific cause-driven examples are more effective at spurring millennials into action than vague pleas to “make a difference” or donate money for no specific purpose. Emphasize a special charitable or outreach program that is particularly successful for your center. Finding one program that really speaks to the types of charitable work you do so you can help your members understand the mission in a more direct way.

2. Build a communityJeff Fromme from BizJournals.com writes, “millennials value a communal environment…[and]millennials are taking their desire to be social into the fitness arena.” For member-based nonprofits, it helps if your member community exists both in the real and digital realms. Creating a virtual community of members working towards similar wellness goals is something Daxko is working towards to provide flexible wellness and fitness communities for the future of membership.

3. Be flexible – According to the 2014 Neilson Global Consumer Exercise Trends Survey 82% of gym members also exercise at home. Millennials are busier than ever and they are looking for options that fit into their lifestyle. Exercising at home is a great supplement to a membership. Offering a virtual solution that provides an online wellness community and quality online fitness classes is a must to reach this generation. Ys, Js, and community centers can solidify their appeal with this demographic by offering options in and outside the facility walls.

At Daxko we are working to reimagine membership with technology tools that will enable you to live your mission in new ways by meeting your members wherever they happen to be and supporting them whatever their interests. Be sure to check our blog for new topics related to future products and industry topics for member-based nonprofits.

Engaging Donors Made Easier

By | Campaigns, Customer Experience, Daxko Engage, Engage, Engagement, Events & Happenings, Financial Development, Fundraising, Industry, Mission Delivery, Online | No Comments

The Member Engagement Index provides quick visibility into an unit’s current level of engagement. With the index we are able to predict how likely someone is to terminate their membership in the next 90 days. It has become an integral part of our Daxko Engage software and a defining feature of targeted engagement campaigns.

Since the release of the Member Engagement Index, we’ve had the intention of creating something similar for donors. After all, engagement is the key to contributions. Engaged members make better donors, and engaging people in communities provides great opportunities for new members, donors, participants, and volunteers. A majority of donors report they have received information about their favorite charity at least once and 40% report receiving information from email/newsletters more than a few times per year (“Nonprofit Donor Engagement Benchmark Study,” www.nonprofitdonorengagement.com/CD_Nten_BenchmarkReport_Final.pdf, Fall 2012).

We are excited to be nearing the completion of a Donor Engagement Index. While the Donor Index uses similar attributes as the Engagement Index, the algorithm has reworked those factors to determine who is likeliest to donate in the next 6 months. However, the Donor Index will be visible on both current members, past members, and basically anyone created in Daxko Operations. You can now reach deeper into our database with more insight and highly targeted fundraising campaigns.

In May, we will be piloting our algorithm with a select group of organizations to refine it to the point that it stands the test of the diverse member data that we encounter across our customer base. As we refine the algorithm we will notice patterns that you would never be able to see unless you look at the data in such large quantities. One pattern we’ve noticed already is that the lowest givers tend to be member units aged 30-50 without kids on the account. We can speculate that these families either have children that don’t belong to their organization so they have not seen the value for their children, or they don’t have children at all and marketing materials aimed at families with children don’t resonate with them. Daxko Engage users can utilize Engage to find out exactly what these member units are interested in and send them a targeted message that can really connect them to the mission of the organization.

Mission Critical

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The Daxko Engagement Index, a feature in Daxko Engage, is designed to provide quick visibility into an individual member’s current level of engagement. With the index, we are able to predict how likely someone is to terminate their membership in the next 90 days. You may have similar ways to view the members in danger of terminating at your organization. Early intervention is key when dealing with members in danger of terminating so identifying and engaging with critical members early can save your association time and money.

New-Critical-Role

The Daxko Engagement Index is a complex algorithm that accounts for a member’s demographics, check-ins, donor activity, and other activity or inactivity to come up with a measure of how engaged a member is and how likely or unlikely they are to terminate their membership. Based on how members score on the Daxko Engagement Index, Daxko Engage ranks them in the following way:

  • CRITICAL – This member has significantly low probability of staying. In fact, 75% of your terminations will come from this group.
  • LOW – This member would have a low probability of staying within the next 90 days.
  • MEDIUM – This member would have a medium probability of staying within the next 90 days.
  • HIGH – This member would have a high probability of staying within the next 90 days.
  • NEW – This member just joined less than 90 days ago and is too new to have a score.

What makes CRITICAL units different than those with the standard LOW label? History. We know from studying thousands of units that certain attributes make a member unit much more likely to terminate in 90 days.

How did Daxko identify this new information leading to CRITICAL units? It’s not just one attribute or behavior that makes a CRITICAL unit at higher risk. It could be a combination of a few things or an absence of something. For example, the algorithm has shown that young adults who pay by invoice or have set expiration dates have a significantly increased risk of cancelling. If a young adult pays by invoice also has very low check-in history and a history of terminating frequently, then it’s likely they will receive the new CRITICAL label.

If you have Daxko Engage or if you have your own way to calculate members at risk of terminating their membership, it’s a great idea to make a targeted initiative out of it. Segmenting your database like this can allow you to identify an entire group of people, LOW for example, and nurture them with a few encouraging email communications. You can try to get them back to your facility or discover other areas of interest (programs, volunteer activities) that will help you keep them involved and help them feel more connected to the overall mission of your organization.

For a group like CRITICAL, you can identify these member units and try a more targeted, personalized approach (like a phone call). Getting ahead of their termination will likely have a greater success rate and will save you the headache of trying to win them back when they are already out the door.