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

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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.

Top Takeaways: Tips for Engaging New Members Webcast

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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.

Executive Interview: Being Held Back By Outdated Processes

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This is an excerpt from a interview with 4 YMCA CEOs who agreed to speak with us about technology challenges and making progress at their organizations. Additional question and answers can be viewed in the full webcast.

Recently, Daxko’s own Tom Massey, sat down with 4 YMCA CEOs to discuss leadership, technology, and YMCA best practices with:

  • Billy George of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads
  • Danny McConnell of The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta
  • Paul McEntire of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area
  • Baron Herdelin-Doherty of the YMCA of San Diego County

This interview provides insight into the workings of successful YMCAs. When asked about outdated processes, our interviewees were quick to point out ways they were being held back.

Billy George was the first to respond stating that before they moved to Daxko Operations in 2003, “we were archaic.” He went on to say, “When we went to Daxko there was a significant financial [and] an immediate impact just in the power of the technology.” George also mentioned the power of the data they were able to get out of their new operations system was “night and day for us.”

Paul McEntire of the Houston YMCA mentioned a problem they experienced on their old operations system was “we either lacked data or lacked confidence in the data that we were pulling” and we were making too many decisions based primarily on instinct and intuition. “I believe instinct and intuition is a key part of decision making but I don’t think either side ought to dominate…I believe data ought to strongly inform decision making.”

Baron Herdelin-Doherty mirrored McEntire’s sentiments: We thought we were really good in many areas but we realized “only about 3 people in the organization could find the answers to questions like: How many members do we have? How many membership units do we have?…How many members scanned in today at a particular branch? [These are] simple questions with answers that should be quickly found.” Herdelin-Doherty’s Y ultimately made a switch to Daxko Operations so they could have the confidence of knowing they were telling an accurate story.

Danny McConnell explained that members have some basic expectations from an association’s website:

  1. Get good, clear information about our programs and services
  2. Be able to register quickly

McConnell went on to say that you can’t deliver great services to your YMCA members without great operational software and “you’ve got to have software that is easy to train people in and is easy to use.” The days were people would stand in line for 10 minutes to register for soccer have “come and gone. I think that is one good example of how Daxko has helped us deliver on our promise each day.”

To hear our CEOs answer more questions about making progress at their YMCAs, you can view the full webcast.

Executive Interview: Focusing on Progress

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Recently, Daxko’s own Tom Massey, sat down with 4 prominent YMCA CEOs to discuss leadership, technology, and YMCA best practices:

  • Billy George of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads
  • Danny McConnell of The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta
  • Paul McEntire of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area
  • Baron Herdelin-Doherty of the YMCA of San Diego County

Each one provided great insight into the workings of successful YMCAs. A few highlights that stood out to me:

When asked the top things they knew they needed to take care of in order to make progress at their associations, Danny McConnell mentioned that the YMCA of Greater Augusta put a focus on the following:

  1. Building a great team,
  2. Building a culture of success to help community partners “think of the Y first,”
  3. And staying true to the mission of the organization.

Danny mentioned that the faith-based mission of the YMCA really resonated with him and so his team makes a concerted effort to, “keep the mission of the organization clear in our sights, we talk about it a lot, we plan around it…and I have not doubt because of that that we have been blessed with what we have done here along the way.”

Paul McEntire’s priorities centered on technology goals with the transition of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area to Daxko software.

  1. Making sure that the association has accurate data and making data-driven decisions a priority,
  2. Establish common business practices across the association and decide what decisions should be made at the branch level versus the regional or association level,
  3. And make online registration a priority.

Watch the full webcast to catch all of the interview and find out more about how these successful CEOs make changes and measure progress at their YMCAs.