More Staff Engagement with Members at Pikes Peak

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ariella Franco, the Member Experience Director at the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, CO about the work they’ve been doing with Daxko Engage. Franco mentioned that her YMCA has recently acquired some new centers that effectively doubled the size of their association. “There aren’t enough hours in the day for us to reach out to everyone. We needed a resource and Daxko Engage was that resource for us.”

When asked about the decision to go with Daxko Engage, Franco said, “We needed a connection with members that was more consistent and more systematic. We didn’t have a way to really target people before. We offer new members a fitness goal setting appointment and we wanted to take that and extend that out to create more touch points with our members.”

Franco explained what first intrigued her about Daxko Engage, “It was exciting from the perspective of being able to see your members as they scan into your facility and the integration with Daxko Operations. Daxko Engage offers a pleasing interface and it’s easy to use.” She said the ability to give different roles access to the same information was appealing and would allow staff to build off of other interactions with a member. The YMCA staff “should be engaging with members and non-members with the same information.”

As for examples of benefits of using Daxko Engage, Franco said, “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. Daxko Engage is really the best tool for this type of systematic communication,” said Franco.

Finally, Franco had some advice for those looking to launch Daxko Engage. She urges new Daxko Engage users to set up some time to talk with other successful Daxko Engage users and find out how they have found the most success with the software.  That way, “before your association launches, you can have some solid initiatives in place.” She also mentions that once you have initiatives that will help you train your staff on specifics that will apply to their day-to-day tasks.

What does a Facebook “like” Mean to Your Organization

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I was reading Social Change Any Time Every Where by Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward and I came across the term “slacktivism.”  Have you ever heard this before?  It refers to the type of activism that takes little to no effort. A Facebook “like” or a Twitter retweet for a particular charity would be an example of this phenomenon.

While I can certainly understand how the term “slacktivism” got started, Kapin and Ward go on to explain that there isn’t anything wrong with this kind of passive participation. “But there is something wrong if we praise likes and followers instead of understanding that our fans could be primed for real action and that we should introduce opportunities for them to engage in something meaningful.”

As a YMCA, JCC, or community center it is important to have both members and non-members involved with your organization through social media. If someone is following you on Facebook or Twitter that is a great first step to something larger. These followers aren’t “slacktivists,” they are taking the first tentative step towards engaging with your organization on a meaningful level whether that is through membership, program participation, volunteerism, or donations to your organization.

Shannon Fisher recently penned a guest post for Mediashift that explained, “It all starts with one post – one post that usually includes information about a topic, sometimes linking  to an article with facts and figures, and a hashtag related to the post.” Fisher goes on to explain how a cause can snowball if social influencers pick it up and share it with their networks. “The #BringBackOurGirls campaign was joined by hundreds of celebrities and political figures, along with millions of their followers, in an attempt to put public pressure on the Nigerian government to find the [kidnapped Nigerian] girls or on Boko Haram to release them.”

Take a closer look at your social followers. Are they already members? Maybe they want to feel more connected to your mission. Could you find a way to engage them with mission-related emails or phone calls? Maybe they would even be willing to become volunteers, employees, or donors for your center. If they aren’t members can you see what types of content they interact with? Maybe they just follow you to find out soccer program registration dates or maybe they are interested in other forms of participation.

You can be certain of one thing. These social followers have raised their hand to receive social communications from you. Kapin and Ward put it another way, “The opportunity is for you to hear that response [social like or follow] and give them more than a post to like — give them something with more forward motion for your mission or campaign, like …watching an informative video, making a pledge, or recruiting their friends.”

Get More Members to Open Your Emails, Tips from the Pros

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The Delivery Services team at Daxko works around the clock to drive member engagement through targeted initiatives delivered through Daxko Engage. We work closely with customers to design initiatives using email, text, and Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) that drive engagement and involvement in the YMCAs, JCCs, and community nonprofit organizations we serve. We send a fair share of member emails and we’ve done a ton of research on what drives members to open and engage with emails from their local YMCA, JCC, or community center.

Here are some tips based on research from organizations like yours to get your members more engaged with your emails:

  1. The subject line is key. Play around with different ones and study what works and what doesn’t. Questions tend to do well, but don’t use them exclusively. An effective subject line piques interest without feeling “sales-y.”
  2. Make use of good segmentation – be sure you are delivering the right content to the right person at the right time.
  3. Think about timing – get emails to readers’ inboxes when they are likely to open them. Tuesday through Thursday evenings are typically a sweet spot. Avoid emails on weekends and stay away from holidays.
  4. Content, content, content!  Over the long term, the best way to see better open rates is to deliver emails that people want to read. It’s about good, relevant content. Ultimately, it’s also about content they can trust.

When you work with your team to improve email open rates, start with the subject line. Testing out more engaging subject lines (things like using members’ names, asking questions like “Remember Why you Joined the Y?” for low-performing new member emails.)  Clearer and more direct emails also tend to perform better. We focus on providing simple emails that have fewer things to read and click so we can be intentional about how we communicate to members on behalf of our customers.

Hopefully these tips will get you thinking. A good email strategy and conversation with your team is important to see continual improvement and real member engagement.  Looking for a good plan to improve your email strategy?  See this post outlining a 3 Step Process to Improve Member Emails.