Daxko Engage: Telling Stories and Engaging Members

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

I recently had the chance to catch up with Kaylan Sisco, Associate Executive Director at the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum Idaho, a newly launched Daxko Engage customer. While the Wood River Community YMCA is just getting started with Daxko Engage, engagement has been a focus for them for quite some time. From sharing member stories, to attending classes with nervous first-timers, they definitely know how to make their members feel like an important part of the Y.

If you have questions for Kaylan, leave them in the comments section. I hope you enjoy my interview with him!

Tell us about yourself and your role at the Wood River Community YMCA.
I am the Associate Executive Director and am typically the main driver behind the member engagement programs and member retention efforts. A majority of the thoughts and ideas, however, come from our front line staff.

How do you define “Engagement” at your association?
Engagement is any opportunity to connect with a member or non-member on any level, no matter how big or small.

What are some techniques that you’re currently using with your staff to further engage members?
We are big on story telling so we encourage our staff to learn the stories of our community members and share them at staff meetings. We even go so far as to have “Blitz’s” Where we jump from our meetings and go out in the facility and meet someone we don’t already know. Many of our staff even offer to go to classes with members if they are nervous or intimidated. (Check out some Y-Stories on the Wood River YMCA website!)

How will Daxko Engage take your engagement to the next level?
We are using the typical initiatives: new members, volunteers, etc. We also utilize the donor side to make sure that our CEO connects with all donors within the week that they make a pledge. Our main focus right now is to use tasks to get each other information in place of email—this way all of our “to-dos” are in one place instead of using inboxes. This has proven to be helpful and fewer items are missed by staff during the shuffle of every day business.

Additionally, the development team for Daxko Engage is working on task tracking that will help measure member engagement. Once that is complete we will have a tool to measure staff engagement ratios, which will be amazing.

Anything else you’d like to share about your Y’s efforts or Daxko Engage?
Our Y’s efforts are only possible with the flexibility of our leadership staff and the thoughtfulness of our entire team. They have an amazing capacity for change and are willing to try or do anything if it creates a better member experience or improves efficiency. We as the Leadership Team are not “married” to any one policy, procedure or method; we have empowered our staff to look at all aspect of what we do and ask “is there a better way?” When someone has an idea they know they will be acknowledged and the idea will be evaluated.

So far we’re really enjoying the efforts of the development team to make Daxko Engage what we want it to be. The team has really embraced our thoughts and ideas and even included us on some demos on potential product changes. While I know that currently Daxko Engage is not a perfect product, it is on its way and is definitely one of the best products I have seen and used.

This post originally appeared on our product blog. For more product-specific information please view more posts from the product blog.

3 Ways to Involve your Community with the Y Mission

By | Board, Engage, Engagement, Industry, Leadership, Marketing, Mission Delivery | No Comments

I have worked with many YMCAs over the years to discover how they are viewed within their communities. Many times the results are surprising. These “Community Perceptions Reports” are eye-opening for our YMCAs, and can sometimes be a little discouraging.

Misperceptions that we see the most are around the mission and charity work of the YMCA. Ys often get pigeonholed as “swim and gym.” Those in the community and even YMCA members forget that the Y is a nonprofit with a mission for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Three ways we work with YMCAs to combat community misperceptions are:

    1. Find out what YOUR community really thinks about you. Often there are commonalities between what multiple communities think, but in order to combat community misperceptions, you really need to have data on YOUR specific community. Try the following:

Conversations – use a common set of questions and field a wide range of demographics
Phone Interviews – you may want to use a third party for these, getting honest answers over the phone can be difficult if the person you’re talking to senses you’re too invested in the topic
Surveys – online surveys are easy and free with a tool like Survey Monkey, just make sure to keep it professional (and short and to the point).

  1. Once you have the hard data, it’s very important to share this information openly and honestly with your board and staff. Share both the good results and the bad results so you can be realistic about your solutions. Most importantly, establish where you are and then map out where you want to be. Don’t forget that staff need education too to ensure they are able to tell your Y’s story.
  2. Finally, make sure you are using all available channels to engage your community. Use social media, media campaigns, and public events as opportunities to share your mission, not just sign people up for memberships. And, don’t forget about engaging your members in your mission too. Your members are the biggest mouthpiece you have into the community and they can be a valuable source of promoters for the YMCA. For more information on how to engage your membership in your mission, visit daxko.com/engage.

To learn more about the YMCA Community Perceptions Report and to receive a complimentary copy of YMCA Community Perceptions Report results and takeaways, visit daxko.com/highlights.

5 Ways to Work Toward Nonprofit Success

By | Engagement, Industry, Mission Delivery, Programs | No Comments

As we roll into Thanksgiving, I think about how grateful we are for our wonderful YMCA, JCC, and community center customers. On the sales team at Daxko we spend a lot of time counseling the people we serve about pain points at their organization. We love to be part of the solution for these organizations!

Specifically, this year there are 5 areas in which we have been working with YMCA, JCC and other software customers to move the needle:

1. Clear Messaging
Some of our customers struggle with messaging that defines who they are and this is the most important thing our customers can do. They have to show what they stand for so that the community will want to be a part of the cause.
Tom Massey of Daxko’s T2 Consulting is an industry expert in creating vision and leadership. T2’s Lori Swann helps nonprofits with marketing and messaging.
2. Scalable Tools
Tracking and communication tools are needed, but many YMCAs, JCCs, and community centers are unsure of how to begin a concentrated engagement effort. With staff outnumbering members 270:1, it is vital for nonprofits to be systematic about staying relevant to the members they serve. Watch the video on how the South Hampton Roads YMCA is using our software tool, Daxko Engage, to engage members in a systematic way.
3. Identifying Targets
How do you know which members at your organization need to be engaged with, and when? This is something we see quite often and it can have a complicated answer, which is why it is so important to stay organized. Software engagement tools can help with this. Watch the video on how the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region is using Daxko Engage to reach out to specific members as they come into their facility.
4. Innovative Offerings
There has to be a match up between community need and programs/services provided. Our customers must ask themselves, “What motivates my members to be committed to healthy living?” Mike Spezzano from Daxko’s T2 Consulting group is the master of coming up with innovative offerings for nonprofits that focus on healthy living.
5. Partnerships
Strong, effective partnerships in the community are essential to propel healthy living. A few examples of partnerships for YMCAs, JCCs, and community centers would be hospitals, corporate wellness programs, local weight loss programs, etc.