Youth program tracks members, aids in grant writing
By Danielle Schanke, Executive Director Rockford Boys & Girls Club
The Rockford Boys & Girls Club has been able to track youth participation in its after-school activities thanks to membership tracking software called KidTrax. The organization provides service to 4,500 youth and is tracking membership activity at its five sites in the Rockford area.
The tracking system provides accurate data on our membership demographics, hours of service and program usage, said Chip Stoner, the clubs president and CEO. We have access to information reflecting service to our members at each individual site and combined on the organization as a whole.
KidTrax works by logging time and attendance data as youth members scan bar-coded ID cards when coming and going from club facilities or program activities. Facility usage data and demographic information such as age, sex, ethnicity, address and income level for each youth member are stored in a database for future evaluation by club officials, who can print a number of reports on membership activity. This type of information is useful for both program planning and reporting to state, federal or private funders on the results of their grants or donations.
In 2000, the Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Teen REACH program funded the purchase of KidTrax for 25 youth agencies across the state, including the Rockford Boys & Girls Club. Teen REACH Director Tom Finley said, We wanted to be able to report from a statewide perspective on participation, the number of youth served and member demographics, which allows us to make sure that each program is running effectively and meeting the responsibilities of our funding.
Before implementing KidTrax, staff manually collected and counted usage and demographic data. The automated system saves hours of time and frees up staff to be more interactive with the clubs members, Stoner said.
Developed by Phoenix technology firm nFocus Software, KidTrax is used by more than 1,000 organizations around the world, including Boys & Girls Clubs, Salvation Army Youth Centers, Parks and Recreation Centers, Police Activities Leagues (PALs) and public school systems. Each KidTrax license costs $2,150 and includes software and scanning hardware.