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Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay

BRINGING OUT THE BEST

nFocus Solutions helps the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay improve performance, outcomes and impact

With more than 4,000 Green Bay youth served among its six sites, the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay realized it needed an advanced membership management system to track attendance, demographics and outcomes data across programs in order to support the National Youth Outcomes Initiative and boost appeals to funders.

If Green Bay is known as the “city of celebrations,” the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay (BGCGB) should be known for celebrating the city’s young people, regardless of background or circumstances. While there are other local organizations serving youth in Wisconsin’s third-largest city, BGCGB is by far the most accessible to its underserved members in terms of locations, hours of operation and cost. With 90 percent of its members considered low income, BGCGB waives its $10 annual fee for approximately 25 percent of its members who are struggling financially.

Transforming the Lives of Youth

The opportunities for the Club’s 4,000 kids and teens are plentiful when they walk through the doors of the six BGCGB sites. Employing highly innovative programs to help their members thrive, BGCGB has won 16 national awards for program excellence over an eight-year period.

Johanna Wicklund, BGCGB’s Director of Program Development & Evaluation, attributes the Club’s success to an organizational commitment to quality and improvement. “We tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering high impact programming by putting systems and strategies in place to not only run effective programs, but to also assess and constantly enhance our programming,” said Wicklund.

BGCGB is able to embrace an outcomes-driven approach with help from KidTrax, a comprehensive youth management and tracking system from nFocus Solutions. The software combines ID cards, scanning technology, data entry and reporting systems into one user-friendly, web-based program. While the Club initially tried to develop its own electronic membership system in 2002 using a Microsoft Access database, BGCGB scrapped its internal system after a six-month period. The Club’s leadership determined that KidTrax was the best membership system on the market. After a summer-long trial at one location proved the software’s benefits, users quickly came on board.

“When parents called a location prior to having KidTrax in place, we could not tell them if their child had left two minutes or two hours ago. By tracking attendance of every members through KidTrax, we immediately knew who was in the building, which kids had left and when. This increased the trust our parents had in our Club and convinced the staff that we needed to roll out KidTrax at all sites,” said Wicklund.

 Streamlining Operations for Significant Time Savings

For the past decade, the Club has used KidTrax to track front-door attendance while two of its larger locations also track member participation in individual programs and activities. All six sites then roll data up into one organizational database. Having accurate, detailed information readily available at both the site and BGCGB level has drastically reduced its reporting efforts.

“Every local Boys & Girls Club must provide a detailed, data-intense annual report to the Boys & Girls Club of America. This report includes basic information such as gender, ethnicity and age levels of youth served, as well as details on how many youth attended per year and at what dosage levels,” said Wicklund. “Having a dedicated KidTrax license at each location streamlines our efforts and enables us to maintain compliance with our national organization’s membership tracking and reporting standards.”

Tailoring Programs to Youth Needs

As a participating club in the Boys & Girls Club of America’s National Youth Outcomes Initiative, BGCGB uses KidTrax to administer an outcomes survey once per year. It then taps into the information collected and draws correlations to help refine its local program offerings.

“We can now look at survey data at a specific site,” said Wicklund. “We might learn, for example, that 16- to 18-year-olds at this site reported a higher rate of engaging in risky behavior such as drug or alcohol use. With this new insight, we can then better tailor our programming to help address those specific issues.”

Gaining a Competitive Edge in Fundraising

Using KidTrax also helped BGCGB gain a reputation with local funders such as the United Way and the community at large for reporting reliable attendance information about the thousands of youth the Club serves and the positive impact of its programs.

“KidTrax has definitely enhanced our credibility within our community and has given us competitive edge in raising more dollars from our funders,” said Wicklund, noting that the Club completed a very competitive grant process during the summer of 2012 with the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. “We secured a significant multi-year grant of $150,000 from the local community foundation and attribute our success in part to our ability to provide specific measurable indicators of where we moved the needle in areas like preparing teens for graduation and career readiness. Since we track all those metrics in KidTrax, we were able to meet the grant’s rigorous requirements.”

Launching Teens to Work

BGCGB’s Teens to Work (T2W) initiative is among the programs that will benefit from its new funding and is a stellar example of how the Club strives for maximum impact. The Club uses KidTrax and the Outcome Measurement Toolkit (OMT) to document, monitor and communicate the progression of its participants in this intensive three-part program that prepares 13- to 18-year-olds for the working world.

The Club administers pre- and post-assessment tests to participants, tallies results and integrates scores with program-specific participation data in OMT. Staff can use these findings to assess the level of knowledge and skills gained, analyze the program’s impact and ensure learning objectives are realized.

Wicklund added, “Our demonstrated capacity to track and communicate critical youth outcomes through [KidTrax] has results in our T2W program being awards an unprecedented level of corporate support that was matched by grant funding.”

Meeting National Expectations

Wicklund believes that, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America striving to constantly refine and improve its National Youth Outcomes Initiative, the organization will request even more outcome impact information from its local clubs. She is counting on nFocus for its continued support and innovation.

“The reason we get maximum benefit from our KidTrax system is because of nFocus’ responsiveness and excellent service,” said Wicklund. “nFocus is very in-tune to the outcome information that Boys & Girls Clubs of America is asking of local clubs. Every time we attend an nFocus webinar or training, we learn something new that enables us to perform more efficiently or collect exactly what we need to meet our changing needs.”

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PUBLISHED:

May 2013

 

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