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Akron Area Y More than Doubles In-Person Engagement

By | Engage, Engagement, Fundraising, Industry, Membership, Mission Delivery | 4 Comments

Earlier in the year we published a story about the Akron Area YMCA’s efforts to increase in-person engagement at their centers. We spoke with their Technology Director, Ken Hoyt, about his efforts to motivate staff to create good engagement habits.

Today we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of conversations that his staff is having with members but also an increase in the quality of conversations initiated and tracked. In fact, looking at the first half of May, the Akron Area Y is reporting 899 in-person conversations. This is more than double the 404 conversations that were tracked during the whole month of April.

Why is it important to track these conversations? This is the best way to get stories. The stories the staff at the Akron Y have logged range from basic:

“Since joining the Y ___ has tried to come every weekday. He really enjoys his new routine of working out before work.”

To the inspirational:

“___ just lost her husband 2 months ago. Trying to get back on her feet. Coming here has really helped her cope. She is interested in water aerobics for her bones and joints. She thinks she will try it next week.”

By having these conversations, the Akron Area Y is connecting with their members on a deeper level and they are logging these stories to help tell the Y story to those who don’t know or don’t understand it. These stories serve as a foundation for community outreach as well as donor and volunteer recruitment. The mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility is reflected in stories like these:

“[I] talked about her 11 year old using the fitness room because school will be out soon. I told her that if he is big enough to use the machines and goes through teen wellness that would be okay for the summer. We discussed making the teen wellness a one on one session with a wellness coach for several sessions. We also talked about camp and volunteering for day camp for the summer as an option for him to be involved in the Y…”

“I asked what his workout goal is and he said, ‘not to worry about his wife for an hour.’ He talked extensively about his wife and her medical condition. She is home now and resting.”

“Got to sit with ___ and her newest little princess who is 2 weeks old now. Said they were all doing very well. She is ready for a run and the doctor has permitted her to start back because she was so active throughout the pregnancy. She and the kids just came in to play with the other kids in CW today. The kids were missing their friends.”

You can set your staff up for success when capturing conversations with members. By tracking and recording these interactions you have the stories that support the Y mission, inspire staff, donors, and volunteers, and benchmark your engagement efforts with your members.

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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.

Valparaiso Family YMCA Launches Daxko Well

By | Engagement, Membership | No Comments

We’re excited to welcome the Valparaiso Family YMCA to the lineup of YMCAs using Daxko Well! They join the YMCAs of Florida’s First Coast and the Pike’s Peak Region.

Our own Wendy Feild, Daxko Well Implementation Manager, was on-site at the Y to ensure a successful launch. “It’s energizing to work with our YMCA partners who are committed to making their communities healthier every day. It’s a privilege to provide a virtual membership solution through Daxko Well to scale their efforts and make an even deeper impact on more individuals.”

The leadership team at the YMCA were just as energized about its potential impact. Chris Aungst, Chief Operating Office shares, “We are excited to offer this virtual solution to enhance our current members’ experience and to extend our reach beyond facility walls to reach more within the community.”

Welcome aboard to the staff and community of Valparaiso, Indiana. We’re excited to have you!


New Member Engagement Takes A Village

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

Now is a good time to reflect on your membership. You may have seen the influx of members come and go from New Year’s resolutions. Why have members stuck with it (or not)? This article from Cynthia at SocialWOD advises gyms to encourage members by creating and maintaining a community. Ys, Js, and other health and wellness centers can use this to their advantage as well. Many times whether a member stays at your center or leaves is because you either provided a sense of community or you didn’t. The good news is that it isn’t too late! Here are 7 ways to implement community programs into your practices to retain your engaged members.

  1. Facebook Groups: If you haven’t setup a Facebook page for your facility, you should.  Have you considered setting up pages for particular interests, groups and programs? It’s a great way to keep like minded members connected.
  2. Public Recognition of Success: People love being recognized for their hard work, especially when it comes to exercise – so help them toot their own horns. Encourage challenges and announce the winners on social media so others in the facility can also congratulate them on their success.
  3. Take Photos:Take lots of photos. You can feature personal training, nutrition classes, member milestones, and group exercise. Many members love to be recognized publicly so (once you have permission) use these on social media so members can have bragging rights.
  4.  Targeted New Member Communications: Staff at the YMCA of Pikes Peak use Daxko Engage to check in on new members at specific points in time. “With Engage we really can look to see how new members are doing and now we know more about them. We’ve added a 30-day phone call that didn’t happen before we implemented Daxko Engage. During that call we can prompt members that haven’t used their fitness appointment to sign up and we have noticed an increase in those appointments,”says Member Experience Director Ariella Franco. Whether you have an engagement tool or not, you can set up reminders to check in with members at critical points in their membership.
  5. Tap into their Talents:  Members are diverse, and you can use this to your advantage. Get to know what your members do outside of your walls. Find creative ways to tap into their talents for possible volunteer situations and connect them to others – a win-win for you and them.
  6. Ask for feedback:A simple survey with just a few questions is a great way to give you insight into your members and according to the Center for Association growth it is also a great way to identify those who want to take the next step like donating or volunteering.
  7. Nutrition Challenges: Many centers focus on fitness but very little on nutrition. Helping members set and achieve nutritional goals promotes body confidence and opens members up to a more holistic view of health. Around the Plate offers some good ideas for nutrition challenges you can try.

This concludes our series on new member engagement. Be sure to check out the first or second post in this series for more great new member engagement tips. We hope you learned some tips you can implement and see engaged members in your results!