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Boys & Girls Club of Maury County

PROMOTING SOCIAL CHANGE IN TENNESSEE

Boys & Girls Club of Maury County enriches lives and identifies pathways for change

After experiencing exponential growth in membership, the Club shifted its emphasis from a superficial tracking process to becoming more data driven. After adopting an advanced membership tracking system, Club leaders were able to see the impact their programs were having, build organization capacity and become a greater contributor to their community.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Maury County, a Columbia, Tennessee-based facility, may be small but its staff members are motivated and full of heart. Assistant Executive Director Chris Poynter describes their work by saying they are striving toward a goal to “positively impact youth and enrich Maury County.”

A Gradual Start Bolstered by Community Support

When the Club was established in 1999, it served just over 30 members. By January of 2008, the Club was serving around 120 members daily. This figure increased that summer to approximately 160. In the most recent six months, the Club saw an average daily attendance rate of just under 130 people. 

A Shift from Quantity to Quality

In the past, there was a greater emphasis from national leadership on the quantity of youth served and a focus on numbers. Over time, the emphasis shifted from a superficial tracking process to a greater focus on data driven information. During that time, the Club began searching for a membership tracking solution that would allow it to stay on par with this shift in focus.

While performing their due diligence, Club administrators reached out to other Boys & Girls Clubs in the area to learn more about the solutions they were using. After being exposed to some different options, Club staff was introduced to nFocus Solutions’ TraxSolutions software suite at an industry conference. From that point on it was clear that nFocus offered the right solution for the Boys & Girls Club of Maury County.

When asked about the end-user opinions about nFocus, Poynter stated “honestly, I think they are blown away by it.”

Managing Data and Moving Toward Results

Beginning by tracking basic information and working with end users of all skill levels to feel comfortable with the new technology, BGC Maury County has become an active and proactive participant in its use of TraxSolutions.

KidTrax, nFocus Solutions’ participant management system, is an integral part of the daily operations of the Club, providing easy access to important data on metrics such as demographics and attendance. Statistics such as income level and head of household employment status have been valuable for the Club to capture, particularly when appealing to potential donors.

Poynter noted that having this “quality of data is what is attractive to investment donors.”

Boys & Girls Club of Maury County can demonstrate a true return on investment and has an advantage when it comes to securing more sizable grants as funders are requesting increasingly comprehensive data.

Around 2010, the Club began to expand its use of the basic KidTrax module to include the use of the Outcome Measurement Toolkit (OMT). Club staff spent a lot of time working in OMT and trying to understand how to maximize their utilization in a way that would most benefit the Club. As active users of the module, nFocus invited the organization to participate in a pilot release of an updated version of the OMT software, an opportunity Poynter described as “awesome.”

Shaping Solution Functionality

Over the span of a few months toward the end of 2011 and into early 2012, Poynter and several other organizations were privy to the latest version of the nFocus software and encouraged to share feedback, suggestions and engage in conversations with nFocus development staff.

The new functionality appealed to Poynter and his staff and they jumped in with plans to track as much as they could about their members. The Club now has an individual focused on capacity building within the organization who is working closely with the OMT module. Utilizing logic models to set and track goals for their organization and choosing the critical metrics that will best represent progress in their participants have been the important first steps.

With the state of a new school year, Poynter asserted that the Club is primed to use the technology to its full extent. The information the organization is tracking and the output it has received to this point has come into play during recent board meetings.

As Poynter described, “it’s like a privilege or an honor to use that data.”

National Youth Outcomes Initiative

Boys & Girls Club of Maury County is also participating in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) National Youth Outcomes Initiative. This initiative is an effort to assist clubs in demonstrating the impact they are having on their youth by targeting three specific outcome areas: academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles. By submitting elements of its data to BGCA, the Club has an opportunity to compare its performance relating to these outcome areas to other clubs on a local, regional and national level. Poynter said this has been a helpful exercise to be able to see this comparison across the board.

 Becoming Agents of Social Change

The Boys & Girls Club of Maury County is working hard to enrich the lives of the youth in its neighborhood. With goals to increase its numbers served to 450 youth per year in the coming years and to build its capacity, this Club is well equipped with a dedicated staff and the technology to support the work it is doing.

Poynter described the Club’s efforts as working to “actually become an agent of social change rather than simply providing programming.”

This is being done by working not only with members but increasing parent interaction and trying to be a bridge with other local agencies instead of a competitor. The Club is focused on getting the community to understand how it is ultimately affecting the community’s bottom line. With the support of its community and technology from nFocus, the Club can focus on ensuring that children in Maury County become hardworking, contributing members of the workforce.

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PUBLISHED:

January 2013

 

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