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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.

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