Why Engaging Your Members Matters

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

Think about your organization and all the “things” that comprise it. Where did your mind first take you? The facility? Program offerings? Staff? Your cause? All of those “things” point back to two greater purposes – members and community. We wouldn’t exist without them.

Your members provide consistent support, volunteerism, donations and a sense of community unlike any other. Your function is to develop those members from casually associating themselves with a facility to connecting with a community. Then, develop those members into individuals who are committed to your organization’s cause.

This purpose is clear for a non-profit community organization, but the ideology is certainly applicable to other organizations as well. One of your focal points is retention – something that proves difficult in a world crowded with shiny, trendy, new offerings that you must constantly compete with. Members might be attracted to unique offerings, but they will stay if they feel connected with other members, trainers, or staff. Developing your community to be a supportive network that provides accountability will ensure a higher retention rate and a far more satisfied member.

There are two measures for engagement:

  1. Retention – improving your relationships with your members and connecting them to opportunities that they are interested in will decrease the rate at which you see memberships turn over. In a case study performed by our team (the Daxko Engagement Solutions Team), we found that organizations saw a 3-5% increase in retention year over year if they did the following:
    • Establish a new member orientation and develop a new member engagement initiative
    • All staff log 3-5 in person conversations each day in a tracking software
    • Communicate staff successes and coach underperformers
  2. Social Impact – engaging your members is incredibly important to accomplishing the mission of your organization, whether that mission is to make an impact through social programs OR to foster a healthy community and make a profit while doing it.
    • While retention is primarily focused on numbers, social impact focuses more on the stories that you will create when your members have an exceptional experience.

All the “things” that make up your organization are important. But what’s more important are the people and the relationships those people build with others.

 

Emily V. is a proud dog mom, and Netflix connoisseur, and lives on Daxko’s Engagement Solutions Team.

How to Hire Right for Engagement

By | Fitness, Industry, Marketing, Membership | No Comments

The most sustainable nonprofits have talented teams. Have you considered that your staff must be engaged before they can effectively engage members? Staff engagement starts during the hiring process. Associations with successful engagement programs say it has changed the way they hire. Even when you have all the right people in place, it is important to continuously engage your staff just as you would your members to get the best outcomes. Here are some staff engagement ideas featured in Entrepreneur from Dwight Merriman (founder of several successful startups):

  1. Ensure that those you hire understand your mission at the outset — those that understand the mission will be a better fit for the long haul
  2. Foster collaboration between staff — open huddles and team meetings encourage collaboration and engagement
  3. Educate staff regularly – when people feel they are growing and learning they stay connected
  4. Be transparent to build trust – communicating the good, the bad, and the ugly encourages open communication and engagement

Staff engagement stays top of mind at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. It’s a big part of the overall engagement strategy. Kathy Cannon heads up their engagement efforts and she fosters engagement with her team by facilitating a staff huddle twice a day to talk about training topics and highlight engagement achievements at the branch. The team also devotes 10 minutes to “Connections” (discussing connections with members) at their bi-weekly staff meetings and they regularly involve branches that are seeing the most success in team trainings to spread good habits across the association. The team there has a laser focus on quality interactions. Thanks to a strategic engagement plan and consistent tracking, the team doubled interactions logged from 3% of all check-ins to nearly 6% of all check-ins (that represents an increase of nearly 3,000  interactions per month!)

This is an excerpt from our recent Engagement Insights Report. You can view or download the full report on the Insights Report page.

How to Get Your Leadership Team Behind Your Engagement Initiatives – Recommendations from the Akron Area YMCA

By | Customer Experience, Engage, Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Organizational Health, Volunteers, Webcasts | 2 Comments
We recently had an engagement webcast featuring Ken Hoyt, Technology Director at the Akron Area YMCA. Hoyt had a lot of great advice on staff engagement but some things that really stood out were his tips to get the C-level team excited and involved in the engagement initiatives at his association.
According to Hoyt, “We’ve set strategic goals around retention. Knowing that how we engage our members and how we involve our staff in that is a key piece. We are getting absolute support from the top.”
Are you looking to get your leadership team more invested in your engagement programs? Or, are you just looking for ways to prove the value of the things you are already doing? If either of these are the case, these tips from the Akron Area YMCA may prove useful to you.
How to galvanize the leadership-level in staff engagement:
 
  1. Look at measurable data – Hoyt’s first tip is to take a hard look at your data and ask yourself, “Where are we today? Where do we want to be and why is it important? Most people understand the value of having a broader membership base and retaining members is a lot easier than recruiting new members.”
  2. Break down retention goals – “If you are looking at retaining 1%, 2% or 3% more members, how many members is that? Once you have that figured out you can start tying those numbers to financial benefits,” explains Hoyt. All those things help justify engagement initiatives to the leadership team.
  3. Take it back to the mission – “Many people are surprised when you take those membership goals and connect it to the increase in number of lives you can touch every day,” says Hoyt.
Try these tips to encourage your executive-level staff to be more excited and involved in engagement initiatives. If you’d like to hear more information from the webinar, you can access the recorded version and if you’d like to hear more about Daxko Engage, you can always contact us.

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.