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.

Peninsula Metro Y Shares How They Engage Members and Staff

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

This post originally appeared on our product blog

As more associations and centers begin to implement and use Daxko Engage, we like to highlight and ask a few questions about the impact it has had thus far and share these experiences with other associations and centers. We recently caught up with Nancy Byrum over at the Peninsula Metro YMCA. She had some great videos that she created and shares with her staff. Nancy was nice enough to share her videos and engagement strategies with us below.

Tell us about yourself and your role at the Peninsula Metro YMCA.

I am the Membership and Technology Specialist with the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA. I work with our branches in the areas of membership standards/practices and all things Daxko Operations and Daxko Engage – I manage the software, train staff, and create reporting solutions for my Y.

How do you define “Engagement” at your association?

Engagement for us is about people; how members are connected with us and our programs, how staff connect members, and how we are involved with our communities.

Tell us about the videos you’ve created for your association.

We have 11 membership branches and 4 program sites/branches that are spread over 120 miles. To train staff in our different locations I have found that training videos help us to get consistent messaging for new functionality, on-going training, and reminders. Our staff has found it to be convenient when updating front line staff on system changes – they can watch a short video before their shift to get them up-to-speed (for example, I created a training video in 2014 for Daxko Operations’ change in navigation). 

Recently, when we launched Daxko Engage, I needed a consistent message to be given to front-line membership and wellness staff before they began using the on-the-floor functionality.  While training from their supervisors is ok, they needed the ‘how to’ along with the association expectations and recommendations – in a consistent manner. It has helped our branch leaders by providing them a tool to get their staff trained. Now, in order to receive a Daxko Engage login, our front-line staff must first watch the training and submit the quiz.

For our videos, we use Camtasia (a TechSmith product). It allows us to capture screen activity, add videos, and insert quiz questions at specific times during the training.  It also allows us to host our trainings on their Screencast site.

Anything else you’d like to share about your Y’s efforts or Daxko Engage?

For 2015, our Association has selected Engage to be our vision word for the year (from the book “One Word” by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page). That word, Engage, has infiltrated each branch’s weekly ‘huddle,’ staff meetings, and association trainings.  We are watchful that our work engages our members and our communities that we serve. We launched Daxko Engage in December 2014 not knowing that our 2015 “one word” would line up with the tool, but it has been a great coincidence. Our staff of all levels have engagement on their minds as well as a tool in their hands.

Since our launch in December, we have used Daxko Engage in the areas of New Member Welcome, Member Engagement, Program Promotion, and Fundraising.  While we are still in the preliminary phases, we have been working hard to make sure we’re starting off using it effectively to measure the biggest impact. This has helped by making many different team members aware of it and it’s abilities:  Development, front line membership/wellness, and even program directors are seeing how it can be used in each of their areas of work.

Do you have any stories of how Daxko Engage has helped create impact on a specific member? Or helped a staff member approach a member?

The biggest change that I’ve heard is there are several front line staff members that have had a shift in how they serve. In the past, we’ve had our share of ‘relationship building’ or ‘great service’ trainings – and while that is good – Daxko Engage has been a tool that helps them track member information and connect them to programs/services/staff that can help them. And that has really increased the level of service they give.  They have felt enabled to serve and help, and prepared to do so with the information they have in Daxko Engage.

Other examples:

We’ve connected many new members (under our MIA call initiative) that haven’t been using the facility and been able to get them reengaged.

 We have had staff use it to cultivate relationships when building their annual campaign teams – They will follow members they want to ask to be campaigners, so they are notified when they are in the facility.

 Additionally, we have had many examples that have resulted in connections made to different programs at the Y. Staff members have used Daxko Engage to task each other on following up on member needs and connect them with a specific program.

A Member Engagement Director & a Plan

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Industry, Marketing | No Comments

More than ever before, we’re seeing the new title “Member Engagement Director” show up at YMCAs. More than 80 of our contacts now have the words “member engagement” in their title. Most of them are Member Engagement Directors. We see a movement across YMCAs and greater need than ever for a focused, systematic engagement plan, and people to execute the plan.

I spoke with Bryan Elsasser, the new Member Engagement Director at Somerset Valley YMCA in New Jersey. He has put some new plans in place to engage members. He’s implemented a 30-60-90 plan. It consists of doing a new member welcome in the first week, sending an email at 30 days into the membership, calling at 60 days, then sending another email at 90 days.

Bryan’s systematic approach is a trend we see all across the country at Ys that are focusing more on engagement. It’s a well-known fact that the more engaged members are, the higher the retention rate, and the bigger impact the Y can have on its community.

It’s hard to see the results from increased engagement unless you have a way to measure your success. Bryan knows the importance of visibility and measurement. “Daxko provides us with the ability to see how many visits, how many new members, and how many terminations.” he said. This data helps measure the success of Bryan’s plan.

When asked why engagement is so important to him, Bryan said, “Sometimes its in the simple things we do to let the members know we care. They want to know you’re here for them, not to pressure them. We want to improve their stay at the Y as well as improve their health.” Engaging members goes back to the Y mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

I asked Bryan what he would say to other Ys that want to improve engagement. “Build relationships with as many members in your Y as possible.  Also build relationships with other Y professionals, the people who’ve experienced this and gather data and find out what is working, and what isn’t working.  Build a list of contacts who you keep in touch with. Share your successes. It’s challenging, but I thank those who have helped me.” Bryan has many mentors that he emails questions to all the time. He also has learned a lot from his father who has been in the Y for over 35 years.

Bryan recognizes how different and special it is to be part of the Y. “The staff at the Y are different in heart and head. You have to have a passion and patience to work here. It’s a different environment. We are more than a gym, and we continually strive to show people in our communities that we are a cause-driven organization here to serve their needs.”

Daxko provides two tools to specifically help with engagement.

Daxko Engage is a CRM tool built specifically for YMCAs, JCCs, and other member-based nonprofits that allows a systematic approach to meaningful engagement. Daxko Engage is able to process large amounts of member data to determine who needs the most interaction and what kinds of topics would be well received. With this information, YMCAs, JCCs, and other community centers can create initiatives and assign specific tasks to your staff to achieve a desired result.

The Daxko Mobile app provides access to mobile registration and schedules, direct communication with members, and more. Most of all, the mobile app gives your members the convenience of connecting with the Y on the go. With Daxko Mobile, the member can quickly find what they’re looking for, add classes or programs to their calendar, and as a result, stay engaged wherever, whenever.

Segmenting Members for Targeted Engagement

By | Engagement, Industry, Marketing | No Comments

An interview with Austin Merritt, Daxko’s director of market strategy

There’s no questioning the impact of deeper member engagement. Members are more easily retained. They give larger gifts, or just give in general. They are more likely to serve as volunteers. Engaged members are more active evangelists of your organization.

There’s also no questioning the fact that we all have limited resources, among many other challenges, that make the task of actively engaging members one on one seem daunting, if not impossible. Segmentation is a proven method, but if you’ve never tried it before, if can be quite intimidating.

While it’s a challenge to get started, the key is just to start. The good news is that you don’t have to be perfect initially. Anything is better than nothing when it comes to analyzing your membership data.

Here’s a suggestion for how to get started. Since we can’t effectively engage every member one on one, try to categorize members into buckets based on their current temperature. A great tool for this is Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a simple survey where you ask your members one question: On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend our products and services to your friends? Based on responses, you can quickly categorize members into three buckets: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.

Make the information more actionable by asking an additional, mission-oriented question, such as “Rate your connection to our organization’s mission.” With responses to these two questions, you can refine your categories and ID your most connected members.

Next, plan your strategy for engaging members in the various groups. Develop a compelling story that connects your Prime Targets with your mission. Show your “at risk” members how you are listening and making improvements based on their feedback. And, at all costs, get those members in your “the future” bucket more involved!