Top 10 New Years Resolutions for Parks & Recs

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Welcome to 2017!

A very full, eventful 2016 is behind us, but we know the work doesn’t stop or reset just because the clock ticked to midnight a week ago. There is something to the new year, isn’t there, that encourages reflection, planning and recommitment… Use this week, and the weeks ahead, to re-commit to strategies that have worked for you and commit to a few new ideas that can take your parks and recreation departments to the next level.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are some ideas to get your new year’s organizational brain ticking:

  • Identify the changes you made last year that worked. While many of us are always looking for the next, best thing, you may have found one already! There are certainly new ideas to implement, but first, take a moment to reflect on the changes you’ve already made that have impacted your organization for the better. Make a short list, right now, of how you can continue them, fine tune them and re-commit to them in 2017.
  • Audit and repurpose your outdoor space and outdoor offerings. Recreating the wheel when it comes to offerings isn’t necessary when existing activities can take on new life in an outdoor location. Spinning can translate into an outdoor cycling group. Painting can happen in a park. If our goal is to support activity AND our parks, come up with a new idea or two this year that marries the two.
  • Scan your facilities and identify a top 3 improvements list. Having the right space and equipment is critical to running programs that are profitable and positive for the community. And surely the wish list is always long. Prioritizing your needs, based on careful research, usage and cost/benefit is the best way to decide where to invest your capital. And keep in mind, expensive isn’t always better. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal found that gym goers tended to favor simple models over complicated equipment with all the bells and whistles.
  • Maximize the power of social media. Social media has been proven time and time again as a strong peer-to-peer referral tool. For a community-based organization, that’s a big deal. If you’re posting as an afterthought, it’s time to take your social media presence to a different level. Put together an annual strategy to engage current and prospective users. And most importantly, keep it positive and inspirational. Be a source of good, just like your work, and you’ll find a heightened response from your community.
  • Invest in the right technology. How easy is your customer’s experience? Your staff’s administrative workload? If you’re seeing gaps in the user or employee experience, technology such as 24/7 online registration or self-managed online user accounts may make a significant difference for your customers and staff. Think about how technology can help you cut time and paper this year.
  • Fine tune your financials with data management. Informed decisions and strategies are nothing without a robust and accurate data management system. The insights gleaned from data analysis help agencies make informed programming decisions for facilities, help optimize capital expenditure budgets and support your master planning. If you’re not confident in the data available to you, or if it’s cumbersome to gather, partnering with a solution such as ACTIVE Net can change that!
  • Invest in community metrics and insights. If your mission is to support health within your community and parks, it would make sense to know the trends in your community. Understanding your community’s demographics, social trends, culture and developing initiatives will only help you serve your members in a better way. It will inform older adult programming, youth engagement, and fitness initiatives, just to name a few.
  • Engage your community. Are there areas of your community you’re having a hard time reaching? Which community partners can help you get there? Who can you support along the way? What community initiatives are in alignment with your mission and how can you support them? Building partnerships will only make your organization stronger. Think now about who you want at your table this year, and what you can offer, too.
  • Try one new offering. There’s always room to take one calculated risk. Members will need their “go-to” offerings, but infusing some new life into the catalog at least once a year is healthy, too. Is there an interest in golf? Photography? Are there any community members willing to share their expertise? If you need some new ideas, check out our post on cutting edge parks and recreation offerings.
  • Fill in your own blanks. As the leader of your organization, you know its ins and outs better than anyone. Build in time – every week – to brainstorm, dream and work toward a unique goal that’s specific to your organization, and that you know will make a positive difference. As the leader of your ship, it’s important not just to steer but to navigate as well.

Here at ACTIVE, we wish you a wonderful year ahead. In fact, we hope it’s your best one yet! If there’s anything we can to do make 2017 a success, please reach out to one of our software specialists today. Happy New Year!

 

Gina Calvert

Gina is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, YMCAs, Parks & Recs, camps, schools and endurance events, for almost 7 years.

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