The social sector—and youth services organizations specifically—has played a critical role in the pandemic response and will continue to play a major role in supporting recovery. As demand continues to increase, how will your organization scale to fuel relief and accelerate lasting social change for the youth and families you serve?
We put together this list of capacity drivers you can implement today, which will make it easier for you to enroll, track and report on individual and program impact while giving you more time to make meaningful connections with your clients.
Many youth services organizations are still using paper to conduct intake, which bogs down the process and overruns storage space. Paper also leaves room for human error—mistakes can happen when manually transferring data from paper to a spreadsheet or database, making updating status changes cumbersome. Allowing youth, families and caregivers to enroll online makes the process of getting help less stressful for them and frees up more time for you to connect one-on-one while serving more youth and families. In addition, online intake can save hours spent entering data from countless paper forms and improve data quality. It also allows your team to easily determine whether program applicants qualify for your services.
As you already know, tracking attendance is necessary. Yet, using multiple systems or having disjointed data is not the most effective way to track attendance for you or the kids you serve. It can take time away from individual care or fail to notify you about at-risk youth if you don’t have access to real-time insights. Today, digitally tracking attendance is crucial. Using a tracking system that connects attendance data and secure case files allows you to get out from behind your desk, spot important information at a glance and spend more time making meaningful connections with the students you serve.
Communicating directly with youth and families is vital to developing trust and ensuring that individual needs are being met. Yet, consider the vast amount of communication that happens with each program participant. It can start to feel like paperwork, notes, forms and spreadsheets are flying around each other and creating a perfect storm for errors or misplaced information. Digital communication adds efficiency and allows organizations to serve more youth, children and families—but that’s not all. Centralizing communication in your program database prevents duplicates and ensures information is always in real time.
Measuring how many children and youth served is all well and good—and should certainly be done—but how do you go from providing services to demonstrating outcomes and impact? Unfortunately, many organizations have not yet unlocked the power that assessment data has to enhance and expand the work they are doing. With Built-In Assessments, your organization can track
individual and program outcomes allowing you to demonstrate impact to funders and share progress with families. In addition, you can use assessment data to understand participant needs better, uncover program gaps and measure outcomes for individuals and whole programs.
All too often, youth services organizations are stuck in the past when it comes to technology. However, with robust technology—particularly database management software—organizations can free up time for staff to do what they do best: make a positive impact in students’ lives and their communities. In addition, with a database that is easily configurable at the point of service delivery, youth services organizations can add fields and forms in minutes and adapt to change quickly and seamlessly so you can pivot promptly and stay on track
Some days it can seem unmanageable to keep up with the intake, reporting, compliance and other processes that must be in place to serve a student’s needs fully. Digital workflows and alerts increase efficiency and keep programs on track while saving staff time they can spend helping more youth and children—all without compromising program effectiveness. Set your programs and children up for success by building notification systems that alert staff to important deadlines, program updates, at-risk youth and overdue items.
Reporting is likely a significant part of understanding and showcasing the impact of your youth services organization. Solid reporting can keep staff on track, provide insights that improve programs and demonstrate results that lead to more funding and program support. In addition, native reporting empowers you to go from looking at performance quarterly to tracking toward success daily while improving data quality and accuracy and empowering decision-making.
Investing in technology built for social good empowers your organization to scale, fuel relief and accelerate lasting social change for the youth and families you serve. Check out our 7 Capacity Drivers eBook to learn more about these best practices that support the growth of your youth services organization.
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