The ambiance in and around Vancouver’s Yaletown Roundhouse on a recent July evening had all the familiar ingredients of a tech conference. There were hordes of casually-dressed (i.e. jeans and sneakers) professionals sporting lanyards. There were food trucks and an uber-popular ice cream station. Inside, there were physical banners with clever hashtags.
But the 2019 NetSquared Digital Nonprofit Conference (DNC) was not a platform for sales people to close deals and hit quarterly targets, but rather a space for nonprofit professionals to share ideas on how rising technologies could help their organizations grow, make their community feel welcome, and improve operational efficiencies.
“Technology is so important to nonprofits because it allows us to scale,” said Elijah van der Giessen, the DNC organizer.
It was also about building meaningful relationships.
“Technology should allow your staff to thrive and allow them to do what you’re good at,” Traction on Demand’s Jack Mercer told the audience of 250 during a presentation.
Prior to the speeches, in the lobby of the Roundhouse, attendees checked-in at the conference (note: Traction Guest was a sponsor) using iPads powered by a visitor management system(VMS). On top of providing an inviting digital experience for attendees, organizers were able to seamlessly check-in guests and get instant visibility on who was in the crowd, including the arrival of presenters.
While VMS technology is ideal for event management like the DNC, it is also a proven business tool for nonprofits.
Opening the door to change
Most nonprofit organizations face similar challenges. Trying to serve a community and build a sustainable organizational model with limited budget and resources. More often than not, they are overwhelmed with visitor visibility and how to constantly interact and engage with them.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCCPGH) is an example of an organization that has figured it out. The Center is one of several nonprofits that leverages technology like the Traction Guest VMS to further their community-based initiatives.
As one of the largest JCC centers in the world, the JCCPGH is inundated with guests – each with different reasons to be there. Some are there for fitness, others for workshops. Many are regulars, others are one-time. With children being main users of the facility, the JCCPGH searched for new ways to welcome people to their facilities, while providing a safe and supportive environment.
“It is so important to us to have an open door to our community,” said Lauren Goldman, a finance employee for the Center. “It is one of our Jewish values to welcome everyone in.”
A fresh welcome
Using a customizable, multi-functional VMS gave the Center the organization and transparency they were longing.
The iPad sign-in created a faster and more welcoming introduction for guests. The automated tool allowed staff to collect real-time information on their visitors without deviating from their current tasks.
On the back end, the staff can use the visitor database to capture data across a wide range of use cases and consolidated in one central administrative console. Follow up communication can now be customized depending on the guest frequency.
With its watchlists, emergency response features, and safety instructions, the VMS also protects JCCPGH employees and visitors from threats, natural disasters and workplace accidents.
The Traction Guest VMS has allowed the Center to use VMS past the lobby, enabling their team to enhance the experience across all touch points and transform how community centers are managed in future.
Giving nonprofits the technology tools to do their community work is essential for creating a better society. One attendee at the DNS conference in Vancouver said it best:
“We have to stay with the cusp of where technology is now and where it could take us if we are going to have as much impact as we can.”
Top Traction Guest VMS features for nonprofit organizations
- Digital Signature
- Visual Identification
- Central Administrative Console
- Arrival Notification
- User Roles