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5 Online Tools Every Camp Director Should Know About

Without a doubt, we are living in a digital age. With that, many organizations and businesses are taking advantage of online tools to manage work, increase collaboration, and maximize their time. Summer camps are no exception. While summer months are spent with your campers, we know that the rest of the year is spent gearing up for the upcoming season. 

Having easy to use online tools makes those days spent organizing camp projects more productive and not only that, even fun – and who doesn’t want that? 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorite online tools (broken down by need!):

Project Management/Productivity

Trello

Trello is one of many online project management tools out there. Project management tools like Trello help boost productivity by making completing tasks a lot more manageable. Described as being easy to use and highly-visual, Trello has won the approval of many professionals (including us here at CampSite!).

Trello can help you manage to-do lists along with stay updated on assignments you may have handed off to your camp staff. Colorful cards and boards make the platform visually appealing for those who like a lively workspace!  It’s especially great during the off-season as you prepare for your upcoming summer camp season!

Organization

Dropbox

Gone are the days of filing cabinets overflowing with paper documents and what-have-yous. Dropbox is an online tool that makes not only storing camp documents but searching for them super simple. For your camp, this could include anything from CIT training handbooks to summer camp brochures!

One of the major benefits of Dropbox is how convenient it is. You can access all your files through any mobile device, wherever you are. This makes it easy to share camp documents with the rest of your team!

Communication/Collaboration

Slack

For many of us, 2020 has brought in numerous challenges. This includes shifting to a more remote work setting. Because of this, many of us have had to get accustomed to communicating with our team virtually. Slack is one of several online collaboration tools that help make this transition smoother. Online tools like Slack also provide year-round benefits for summer camps who may need to connect with staff who may only work on-site during the summer.

Using Slack, you can connect with individual staff members through direct chats and even with multiple staff members at the same time. Chat rooms or ‘channels’ in Slack make it easy to organize conversations by topic or departments at your organization. Another benefit of online collaboration tools like Slack is the ability to quickly share files with your staff – plus Slack also integrates with Dropbox!

Marketing

Canva

Canva is an online design tool that is great for summer camps! Whether you are interested in adding flair to your existing marketing material for next season or just need a little inspiration, Canva pretty much has you covered. 

Canva is a trusted place for design beginners and professionals to create high-quality marketing materials.  It can help you elevate your social media posts and outreach content. By offering design templates, Canva is especially helpful if you regularly send newsletters to your families!  Design tools like Canva will help keep families engaged all year round!

Google Analytics

If you consider yourself a little on the tech-savvy side,  Google Analytics is worth checking out! Google Analytics is an online web analytics tool that will take your camp marketing to a whole new level. 

In a nutshell, Google Analytics helps you track and analyze traffic that runs through your website. Not only how much traffic but the type of traffic and where traffic is coming from. With online tools like Google Analytics, you can identify trends and improve your camp marketing strategies!

We like Google Analytics so much that CampSite offers a feature that integrates Google Analytics tracking codes directly into selected CampSite public-facing pages! This provides our camps with the ability to collect data on families who have expressed interest through CampSite or have even gone as far as starting the enrollment process!

Whether you are interested in maximizing productivity, or simply just need a little marketing boost for your camp website, there is something out there for you to explore.

These are just a few online tools that have changed the game for professionals across all industries including summer camps. Living in this digital age has its perks – including having a myriad of online tool options that not only help make our work days shorter but even more enjoyable!  

Is your camp running on CampSite?  Request a free, personalized demo  to explore our comprehensive camp management software today!

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5 Easy Marketing Techniques for Reaching Camp Families Throughout The Year

Even though your particular camp might only be in session for part of a season, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with your community throughout the year. You can send updates to camp families easily with a variety of channels and mediums. We’ll explore some of the most popular ways to connect with – and compel! – your campers and their families. 

Text

With CampSite, you can send mass text messages to hundreds, even thousands, of your database contacts with just a few clicks. Text messages are a convenient way to reach parents quickly – no matter where they are. Text messaging is super useful during the camp season to communicate with individual families or a whole group. But it shouldn’t be dismissed as a great way to provide instant updates on session offerings or community news during the off-season. 

Email

By now, everyone knows that email is a reliable method for providing relevant and useful content to subscribers. Surprisingly, a well-planned email strategy isn’t as common. Consider the messaging you could send camp families year-round that would be interesting, engaging, and informative.

Determine how frequently you’d like to send it – a monthly or quarterly newsletter, for instance – and plan the rough outline ahead of time. Use our Email Scheduling feature to draft and schedule emails for a future send date right inside the CampSite dashboard. Consistent, quality messaging is key when it comes to an effective email strategy!

Social Media

Make it easy for your campers, families, and staff to find you on social media. Popular channels include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. Sign up for all five and keep a steady stream of content flowing to each (you can post the same content across channels) so people know you’re actively in business. Tools like HootSuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer can help you manage your social media.

Once you’ve committed to your channels, include “Follow Us!” icons for each on your website, email footers, and any other brand messaging. Social media is one of the best ways to inform families of session updates like new offerings – and engage with them, too. 

Direct Mail

It may seem like a thing of the past… but snail mail is still effective! Direct mail marketing your camp is a great way to reach new and prospective camp families alike. With the help of a free design platform like Canva, it’s never been easier to come up with your own graphics.

Direct mail is most effective when sent a few times over to the same mailing list. Because of that, it’s a perfect off-season marketing or remarketing campaign that you can set-and-forget. For existing camp families, include information about the upcoming season and shout out highlights from the past (pictures always appreciated!). 

Video Content

Create a library of engaging content that your community can access at any time of year. YouTube, or a similar video streaming service, is your best bet for getting started. Create yearbook slideshows commemorating past seasons, post videos of camper-favored activities or songs, feature updates from counselors or directors, and more.

You can easily share video content across social media. Plus, it’s a fun way to get some facetime in with your community no matter where they are or what time of year it is. 

Engaging and updating your camp families throughout the year has never been easier. So with a little planning, content creation, and a list of camp contacts, you’ll be on your way to a comprehensive outreach plan. Keep your camp experience top-of-mind no matter the season!

Is your camp running on CampSite? Request a free, personalized demo to explore our comprehensive camp management software today!

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Camp Donations and Payments: Simplifying Camp Financials

camp donations and payments

As many summer camps head toward their off-seasons, we wanted to highlight one of our financial modules. This module offers major benefits to CampSite users who strive for more organization in their back-office processes. Our Donations and Extended Payments module makes simpler the tasks of collecting, tracking and managing donations and payments. 

Read about this popular financial module to see how it can simplify camp donations and extended payments management. Then, apply it to your own operations!

Feature Benefits

Offered as an A la Carte feature, our Donations and Extended Payments module supercharges to your camp’s financial processes. This is an especially important feature for non-profit camps or camps who rely on external support. The module allows for quick online payment collection from a variety of third parties. Plus, it can replace your existing fundraising software entirely. 

The Donations and Extended Payments module offers a full range of donation and payment management tools. Stay on top of donor organization by easily creating, editing, and deleting donor files as needed within the admin dashboard. Then choose to attach donor notes to customize the record with additional information you can easily share with other users. 

It’s not uncommon for a relative, a family friend, or even a government agency to make contributions toward camp fees. CampSite’s Extended Payments functionality allows anyone with an email address to log in to a secure portal. From there, they can quickly view and pay for a camper’s charges. It’s incredibly easy to set up and prevents needless back-and-forth. Similarly, collecting camp donations and payments is faster and more secure than traditional offline methods. 

This module also syncs with our Advanced Reporting tool so users can pull valuable information with just a few clicks. You can view, manage, save and export reports to stay up-to-date on the status of donations, payments, and donors. Plus, communicating with donors and payees becomes more convenient than ever before. Users can send emails from the Advanced Reporting dashboard directly to donors generated in a report, all within seconds. 

Routine Updates 

We routinely assess the value of every feature we offer our camps. Then, we work hard to incorporate new updates we believe will most benefit your management efforts. This year we’ve made two small but significant changes to our Donations and Extended Payments module.

Firstly, we now support one-click refunds for general donations and payment requests. This makes it easier for camps to accommodate donor contributions and requests. In addition, admin can now automate and customize the donation acceptance process. Set a default transaction category to tag all new donations and third-party payments.

In conclusion, for camps looking to organize, customize, and automate their donations and payments, this module is for you. It’s easy to integrate this feature into your existing CampSite service. As always, our support team offers year-round free training. We’ll show you just how this feature will benefit your camp’s unique needs!

If you’re interested in joining the hundreds of camps nationwide that use CampSite, please request a demo today!

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Camp Administrative Reports: Why They’re So Important

camp administrative reporting

We know that running a camp involves a lot of moving parts. In fact, we had just this thought in mind when we designed CampSite. In addition to a comprehensive camp management platform, we also wanted to offer a feature that would really help our users run better businesses. The solution: to offer camp administrative reports that are easy to access and understand.

Administrative Reports Customized for Your Camp

We’ve made highly customizable reporting available in various modules throughout the CampSite admin dash. Because of this, it’s an easy task to sort an abundance of data into manageable, digestible segments using fields and filters. Without a fast and efficient reporting feature it’s difficult and time-consuming to pool and analyze data manually. Even more, it becomes nearly impossible to design an effective strategy that will help you run (and grow!) your best camp.

While you’ll find many useful opportunities to run reports throughout our admin dashboard, let’s explore a few user-favorites:

Financial Reports

It shouldn’t be a surprise that financial reports are critical if you want to understand the health of your camp. With our built-in reporting system, your administrative team can determine earnings for individual camp programs, view how many/which families have a due balance, and check the status of electronic payments that you’ve processed over your payment gateway – just for starters! So, make some appointments on your calendar to check in with your financials on a routine basis. The more you become familiar with the information, the easier it will be to track and understand changes over time!

Staff Reports

Even if you don’t have a human resources department, you can still get organized and track your staff effectively. Our advanced staff reporting tool is capable of sorting staff members into several segments, starting with session and employment status. From there, you can narrow down your results using a variety of demographic options. Plus, there are options to pull staff based on salary, availability, experience, and so much more. This robust tool makes it easy to view and manage your staff according to your camp’s current needs.  

Camper Reports

One of the most sought-after features of CampSite is the camper and family reporting tool. Our easy-to-use report builder allows you to create and run customized reports on groups of campers. This tool is designed to help you gather data on a wide range of variables. You can pull campers with a list of specific allergies, see who ordered certain enrollment extras, and even identify which campers still have missing forms. A thorough understanding of your camper demographics will hugely impact the effectiveness of your marketing, fundraising, camp programs, and more!

Donation Reports

Many camps steadfastly rely on donations as a major source of income to help maintain and run camp year after year. If you’re among those camps, it’s important to keep track of who your donors are and what their donation history is. With our donation reporting feature, you can easily pull reports on any payments your donors have made – whether towards a specific family’s balance or general donations to your overall camp. This information can help you expand your donor pool and segment donors into their own campaigns.

Reporting is simply a tool your camp just can’t do without any longer! With CampSite’s vast reporting capabilities, it’s easier than ever to get the information you need to run your best camp. As we head toward another busy season, there’s no better time than now to keep the benefits of camp administrative reports in mind!

Is your camp ready for a free demo of our game-changing camp management software? Contact us today!

Explore all of the features CampSite has to offer your camp here!

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Camp Admin Software: Why Customization Matters

Camp Admin Software by CampSite

Camp Admin: Choosing Quality Software

Camp admin have their fair selection of camp management softwares to shop for these days. We stress the importance of choosing a software that meets all the needs of your camp. You’ll also want one that will be flexible moving forward as you evolve and grow. We’re big fans of flexibility and customization here at CampSite! To help you find the best software for your camp admin team, we’ve put together a reference list to remind you of the great benefits of customizable tools!

Increase Your Overall Ease of Use

The belief that running camp should be less about chaos and confusion and more about passion, meaningful programs, and happy campers is what inspired CampSite. So, we created a camp management software that would remove the headache from the pre-registration planning process. Plus, each and every camp admin can tailor CampSite to their own camps’ needs. Our easy-to-navigate admin dashboard highlights your favorite CampSite features and even boasts an Enrollment Setup Wizard expertly designed to guide you through the entire process.

Personalize Your Connection w/ Campers and Parents

Within CampSite’s admin dashboard is the opportunity to completely customize the Parent Dashboard (and registration process for parents). We designed the Parent Dashboard so that camp admin can easily create custom messaging and branding to represent their camp. This is a great way for your camp to offer a personal and unique registration experience while reinforcing your brand and mission. Of course, there are plenty of other customization options available to you in our admin dashboard, including registration forms!

Cater the Enrollment Process to Each Camper

Perhaps the most consistent feedback we get from our current clients is their love for how customizable the enrollment process is. Our Admin Dashboard has an Enrollment Setup Wizard that puts the control back in your hands. You can choose the information you want parents to see and elect which questions or inquiries show on forms. Better yet, you can create your own questions or prompts with multiple response possibilities (drop-down menu, open-ended text, and more!). Our flexible customization feature was the topic of praise at the American Camp Association’s National Conference this spring! Many camp admin are thankful they’re able to provide non-binary responses when collecting information on a camper’s gender. This is just one of the many ways CampSite allows you to create a comprehensive, customized enrollment process.

Fit the Software to Your Camp

More than anything, finding a camp management software that will fit to the design of your camp and its processes is crucial. A good software will also give you plenty of room to grow. CampSite software makes running camp easier, more efficient, and less time-consuming for any camp admin team. Our core package is an affordable bundle of some of our most sought-after features such as online registration, advanced reporting, our Parent Dashboard, and more! From there you can add on modules such as transportation management and medical management for an extra benefit. The power is all yours – we’re here to help along the way!

Think CampSite might be the right fit for your camp? Request a free demo today!

Don’t miss this quick read   detailing the benefits of taking your camp digital!

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The Best Tech In Camp Management Software

Best tech for camp management photo

Thinking about technology operating alongside summer or day camps can create a complex image. Phones, computers, and other gadgets can be viewed as obstacles at camp, posing more  as a distraction from enjoying camp activities than a benefit. Whatever your view on the relationship between tech and campers, the productivity benefits of camp software are undeniable. Technology has become such an integral part of running a camp, from cell phones, to action cameras to camp software itself! So we decided to rank  our favorites for the top must have tech features in camp software!

A Cloud Service:

Chances are you’ve heard this term thrown around in the tech world or even at your camp. A “cloud service” allows instant access to vast amounts of data from anywhere—without worrying about storing photos, files, and forms yourself. This means if you fill out a form while enabling a cloud service, “the cloud” stores that form away where it can be updated or accessed in seamless fashion. Camper photos, camper medical forms, staff resumes and more. It’s all readily available to you.

Are cloud services popular? Sure! In fact, the world’s largest cloud platform, Amazon Cloud hosts some of the web’s most popular services – Netflix, Pinterest, and of course, Amazon.com – to name just a few. In addition, we use Amazon Cloud to host CampSite!

Facial Recognition Technology:

This awesome feature lets parents locate their children in camp photos instantly, saving all the trouble of looking through albums of camp pictures from their camp counselor. The Facial Recognition is one of the most innovative features to connect both parents and campers in a fast and convenient manner.

You may have not even noticed the power of facial recognition tech at work. It’s on social media when you upload a photo of your friends and you’re asked to confirm the names attributed to the people in the photo. This means the next time a photo is uploaded with the same people, the program recognizes them with better
accuracy and your photos are easier to find of people you’re looking for. This feature is a dream come true for many parents since it saves them time and energy. The alternative is a mild dread when considering how to keep track of handfuls of
camp photos.

Text Messaging:

Most messaging services also let you archive conversations and set notifications, while others allow so much more. Because text messaging is a near essential in our everyday lives, staff that use texting as part of their camp management strategy are being able to send mass messages to all camper families about crucial information, from event changes, updates and emergencies. Messages instantly land on the appropriate parent’s phone inbox for quick and easy viewing. So how does text messaging impact the relationships between parents and staff? For one, it becomes faster. Similarly, it makes communication over smaller issues much simpler than email or phone. For example, a text message to a campers parent that their swimming goggles broke and to send a new pair, saves the time of making the call or going back and forth on an email thread.

Rollover Data:

Contact information, session dates, forms, notes, tuition plans, forms, more forms… we could go on about the enrollment and registration process! We understand how it can take the entire day away from you. With a feature like CampSite’s rollover tech, we automatically populate registration forms and fields based on previous entries. This camp management software fan-favored feature makes the process hardly a process at all. Not when it’s much faster and more efficient than before!

Our rollover data feature includes nearly every fillable form or field we offer. From parent’s contact information, notes, enrollment options, session dates, tuition plans, to discounts and forms, it’s all retained and open for editing at any time. Make sure your camp management software asks what you want to roll over to the next year!

Camp Management Software:

How could we not have camp management software on the list? It’s what CampSite is all about! A camp software CRM is the biggest tech powerhouse in the camp industry. Why? Because cloud-based, robust software serves as an all-in-one answer to your camp management needs. You can operate all of the features listed above and more easily and efficiently. So go ahead and give camp management software a try! With CampSite, you can send a massive “Welcome!” text to all your campers, launch facial recognition for all camper parents to easily locate their children in photos, re-enroll campers for future camp adventures, and so much more!

Want to learn more about CampSite? Click the button below!

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5 Things Everyone in the Camp Industry Should Do Before Summer Ends

5 Things Everyone in the Camp Industry Should Do Before Summer Ends photo

The entire camp industry feels it when… there’s only one month of the summer season left. Do you have some marketing plans set in motion for the future? Perhaps personalized notes to each of your camper families or a social media campaign around back to school? Check out our examples that you may like below. Don’t let the clock tick any faster before getting these ideas checked off your list!

Preset Your “Thank You” Notes Beforehand

It’s better to build up those “Thank you!” email and text messages now than just a few hours before sending them out. One suggestion would be to have counselors type letters to their camper parents and include them in your email template message. Once those message templates are set, there also exists the opportunity to create personalized messages for your clients within each template. (The response will be worth the preparation time!) Remember that these communicative tasks can be achieved in the Email & Communication Tools and Text Messaging feature. If you’re new to our text messaging feature, our blog here can also help you.

Acknowledge The Back to School Spree

Whether your camp hours are overnight, daytime, or operational during the school period itself, ‘Back To School’ is a flexible marketing period for each and every one of your camps. Approach back to school as a chance to spread awareness of your camp at local schools. You can also use our Geographic Locator to find popular regions your campers come from to pick school locations. For example, if fifty of your campers come from one town, advertising along with the local school district in that area could prove to be very beneficial. Another option would be to partner with local businesses to offer discounts to your campers on school supplies. Brainstorming with other non-competitive (think complementary) services in the camp industry is worth exploring, too.

Websites & Web Advertising

Are you digital with your advertisements? It’s well worth a try if you haven’t! If you’re new to the process of advertising online but have done an ad in the paper, ask the newspaper if you can spread the ad to their website too. If you’re comfortable with advertising online, you can also start creating ads and pitching relationships with local businesses who also have websites. For example, let’s say that 15 miles from the fictional camp: Good Pine Tree Center is a town tourist spot. The head counselor of Good Pine decides to dig up some names of the most popular children’s oriented locations. He then meets with several owners of these locations and pitches an idea for a camp advertisement. For the owners who agree to the pitch, there is now not only advertisements in a popular area of your camp but the beginning of a sponsor relationship!

Get on Social Media

There are events happening every day, in every industry, that allow businesses to reach out to their audiences through social media. The camp industry is no different! The downtime between the end and start of summer camp is the perfect time to spruce up or set up a social media account. If you’re concerned about returning to a social media account that hasn’t been up-to-date for a while, build a campaign around your return! Doing so will retain interest from your current followers and gain new attention as well.

Get Feedback From Your Camp Industry

Although many are small, all campers are mighty! Do not underestimate the importance of camper feedback on their direct experiences. They do make up a majority of the summer camp industry, after all! They’re why you run a camp to begin with. Have you read our blog precisely on getting fast feedback from your very own campers in all sorts of creative ways? If not, it’s time to think like a camper! From talent shows to cardboard boxes of animals that only eat camp reviews—the process of getting quick camp feedback is more intuitive than you think! Start reading here!

Want to further expand your networking efforts? Check out our post on trade shows!