Category Archives: Customer Stories

Web Resources for all YMCAs: An Introduction to Open Y

We live in a world of resource constraints. That’s true no matter your budget. At some point, the need always surpasses the ability to meet it. What’s a good solution? I think it’s all about fighting our inner two-year-old and sharing more.

If you need a WIFM (what’s in it for me), how about innovation and growth? When teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen, amazing things can come out of it. When everyone in a group is equally invested in the greater goal, the result is everyone working faster, finding mistakes more easily, and innovating better. Drawing on the knowledge of others is crucial in getting to the best result. This concept has spawned an entire movement of sharing.

Ever heard of open source software or collaborative work environments? These are two examples in the technology world where individuals come together and contribute to something in the hopes of making it better. Just like our parents told us, the concept of sharing is wildly successful. And now, sharing is impacting a non-profit movement that Daxko has been supporting for 10 years: the YMCAs. Behold the Open Y initiative.

In 2016, a small group of Ys recognized that they had access to modern, engaging website development resources that weren’t available to all Ys. Rather than taking the path of least resistance and merely hoping someone else would solve the problem, these leaders came together and decided to be the change by developing their content management systems on the open source functionality, Drupal 8. What this means is that every Y can now make use of the development that these few pioneers started. And every time someone develops something new with this source, they can publish it for others to use as well.  At the Open Y Summit last week, it was invigorating to see this trend of collaboration come to life and open the eyes of 130 people, all focused on bringing greater opportunity to the YMCA movement.

Working outside of your own association can seem tedious and time-consuming. However, as the Open Y has already shown, bringing unique minds together is worth it because when a group of people focuses on achieving a big, common goal they create new, synergistic energy. This is how dreams of moon shots become reality. As a vested partner in the YMCA movement, I’m honored to be able to contribute to this new reality.

Want to learn more about Open Y and see how you can play a role in change?

Register to attend “An Introduction to Open Y” on Thursday, October 12, at 1:00pm CST. Nathan Maehren (Sr. VP, Digital at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities) and Courtney Glover (Director of Digital Strategy at YMCA of Greater Houston), both part of the original group that started Open Y, will walk us through how this initiative came to be and how you can help it grow.

DAXKO ENGAGE: Kathy Cannon and Interacting with Members

I recently sat down with Kathy Cannon, Member Data Services Manager at Florida’s First Coast YMCA. Kathy shared her approach to using Daxko Engage on the facility floor* and a few training tips.

Daxko Engage Facility Floor Training Tips
When training your staff on how to use Daxko Engage’s facility floor engagement feature you want to provide examples and set clear expectations.

  • Include examples of notes that were a miss—these coaching opportunities will help others learn quickly and keep them from making the same mistakes (just make sure you don’t name the staff member!)
  • When sharing examples of good notes, provide insight into why the example note is helpful. Did you uncover an area of interest or identify a goal that the member is working toward? Knowing this information will help all staff follow-up, make program suggestions, and ultimately build a relationship with your members.
  • Regularly audit each center’s notes and highlight exceptional interactions—this could be during a weekly huddle or via email.

*New to Daxko Engage? Our facility floor engagement feature utilizes tablets and a quick view of members that have just checked in. From the main screen you can quickly add notes from a member interaction and even see if one of your peers has already spoken with a specific member. We believe these regular interactions and actionable insights help build and strengthen relationships.

Telling Stories and Engaging Members


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.