Camp directors have so much to manage, from communicating with parents, to scheduling counselors, or registering new attendees—the list goes on.
Running a camp can be overwhelming without some serious help from software that can automate a lot of the busy work and help your team stay organized and ahead of the game.
Today, we’ll tell you all you need to know about camp management software, including why it’s important to use if you want to improve your efficiency, and what features to prioritize when evaluating the various tools on the market.
- What Is Camp Management Software
- Why Use Software for Camp Management
- What to Look For in Camp Management Software
What Is Camp Management Software
Camp management software is a cloud-based solution for streamlining and automating the various activities that go into organizing and managing a camp, from communicating with staff to collecting payments from parents.
The main users of camp management software are camp directors and camp counselors running day camps, summer camps, residential camps, sports camps, and other types of camps for children.
The common features of camp management software include the following:
|Registration form builder||Easily create online forms and embed them on your website to make registration and data collection a breeze.|
|Integrated payments||Collect payments online via multiple payment methods and create personalized payment plans for parents.|
|Mobile-friendly design||Allow parents and attendees to fill out forms on their mobile devices.|
|Built-in communication||Streamline email communications with auto-populating emails, trigger-based automations, and list filtering.|
|Reporting and analytics||Use the data you collect to reveal insights about your camp and assess the effectiveness of new initiatives.|
Although they have overlapping features, every camp management software is different and focused on solving a unique set of problems.
Therefore, it’s worth doing plenty of due diligence when evaluating the possible solutions for your team, and basing your decision on which tool best solves your most pressing issues.
Why Use Software for Camp Management
There are many reasons an organization should use camp management software.
It automates repetitive tasks, keeps all your data in one place, and saves your team time, which they can devote to more creative and meaningful work.
Let’s go over the two main reasons why camp management software is so crucial.
Automating Repetitive Tasks
There are some time-consuming tasks camp directors do that often feel like a waste of precious brain power.
Some that come to mind are sending invoice reminder emails, transferring data from a physical registration form to an online database, and sifting through paperwork to find that critical piece of information.
Camp management software allows you to set up automations that turn these repetitive tasks into a thing of the past.
For example, users can create trigger-based email automations that will send out personalized emails whenever a certain event takes place, like a customer forgetting to pay their invoice.
Not only does this free you up to do more impactful work, like thinking of ways to market your camp. It also provides some other instant benefits:
|Preventing human error||Humans have a tendency to make mistakes and let work fall through the cracks—a misspelled name here, a forgotten email there. Eliminate these mess-ups and their costs with software.|
|Lowering labor costs||By giving repetitive tasks to the software, your current team will be able to do more, and you won’t have to hire new staff.|
|Improving staff mental health||A day spent doing boring, menial tasks is one day closer to burnout or questions like “Am I wasting my life away?” Give your staff purpose via responsibility and challenging work, and leave the tedious ones to automation.|
According to a study by Smartsheet, 86% of business respondents said that automation makes employees more efficient.
And 78% said that automation would allow them to spend more time on the interesting components of their job.
It’s time that camp directors start to support themselves and their employees with technology that handles the busy work and empowers them to do the work that is both satisfying and demanding of skill—the two are inextricable.
Keeping All Data in One Place
Films often portray the messy office scattered with paperwork in a romantic light, especially in workplace dramas, particularly legal ones.
There’s always that scene where a determined employee, sitting on the ground and surrounded by boxes of documents, is reading some paper closely to find that speck of information that will blow the case wide open.
The movies won’t start changing these scenes to fit the times because of cloud-based software.
A scene depicting someone typing something into a search bar isn’t as exciting to watch. It doesn’t really show how dedicated this person is to the job.
But, real work, across all industries that once involved paperwork, is changing.
With all data stored online in a searchable, filterable database, camp employees are increasingly able to find up-to-date information with just a few clicks and taps.
Furthermore, with camp management software, you don’t have to worry about losing any critical documents or information because the cloud is backed up and recoverable if something were to happen.
Plus, with reporting and filtering capabilities, you can quickly find the answers to questions like “Which children are unable to swim” or “Which parents haven’t paid their invoices?”
Or you can simply pull up your payment history to check the status of your latest invoices:
When you use camp registration software, you might miss out on chances to look busy and dedicated while sifting through registration forms, but you’ll gain chances to share some valuable project you’ve completed or some big idea you’ve thought up.
The scene in the workplace drama where the protagonist stands up at a meeting and explains their elaborate and bold plan and wins over a critical audience is always more satisfying to perform and to watch, anyway.
What to Look For in Camp Management Software
There are some specific features you should look for when evaluating different camp management software platforms.
Let’s go over these key features and how they benefit you and your camp.
Embedded Registration Forms
Find a tool that offers embedded registration forms and allows you to easily build custom online forms that capture the information you need from your attendees and their parents.
Many have a drag-and-drop, no-code editor that makes form building simple for non-techies:
These forms should also be easy to embed on your website so that parents can sign up their children online without having to leave your website.
Many tools take their forms a level higher by offering conditional logic, which guides applicants through the registration process, showing them only the questions relevant to their situations.
This makes the camp registration process seamless for customers.
Some software will also provide auto-populating forms that fill automatically with information you’ve already collected from a user.
This is most useful when a former attendee is registering again. This time they won’t have to do the whole process over again.
Also, when data is collected in the form, it goes directly into the platform’s database, where you can use it to create insightful reports that provide insight into your camp management or registration process.
Another critical feature is integrated payments, which allows applicants to pay on your website through a secure online payment form.
The best tools enable you to offer your customers various ways to pay, from different types of payment methods like ACH and debit cards to individualized payment plans.
For example, this administrator used Regpack to offer customers the choice between full payment, deposit plus balance payment, and paying in monthly installments:
Camp registration software like Regpack also helps you set up recurring billing, which automates the payment collection process while ensuring that you get paid on time.
With recurring billing, a customer is automatically charged on a specific recurring date. There’s no chance of you or them forgetting, which can lead to cash flow issues.
In sum, integrated payments will save you time on activities involved in charging your customers and collecting payments, and it will improve your customer experience, thereby making parents happier with your service.
Solid camp management software will allow you to create mobile-friendly payment and registration forms.
Applicants will be able to seamlessly type in their information on their mobile devices. Improved convenience is the end goal of this feature.
Mobile-friendly design is especially important when phone use is so high.
It might be unpleasant to think of people registering for your camp while going to the bathroom, but it just might happen, since 64% of people report using their phones on the toilet.
To give people the ability to sign up from anywhere and on the go, Regpack has responsive, mobile-friendly registration and payment forms that adapt to the applicant’s mobile device regardless of screen size.
Avoid losing customers because they find the registration process too frustrating. Find camp management software that offers mobile-friendly forms.
Built-in communication is a camp management software feature that helps you email applicants and customers.
It’s meant to streamline and automate a lot of the communication process.
Regpack, for example, offers email templates, which streamline the writing step, and email triggers, which automate the sending step.
In the platform, you can set up emails to go out to specific customers when certain conditions are met.
You’re essentially creating “if X happens, then send Y” rules that govern the email automation.
For example, you could set a rule like “if the applicant is 1 day past registration due date and hasn’t submitted an application, send ‘registration reminder’ email template”.
Here’s an example of a Regpack user creating an email trigger for when a lead calls back:
And, thanks to smart fields, the chosen email template will be personalized with the recipient’s name and other information, thereby making the interaction feel personal even though you weren’t involved in writing or sending the email.
Another use case could be to instruct the software to send welcome emails automatically whenever someone submits a registration form on your website.
These communication tools help you build stronger relationships with your customers by ensuring that they receive the right emails at the right time.
Reporting and Analytics
Within the camp management software’s database exists a lot of data you’ve collected from your applicants, from financial data to preferences to registration data.
Aside from helping you track and search through data to find the right information, a strong camp management solution will also provide you with reporting and analytics features that help you draw insights and predictions from the data.
They should help you answer questions like “What percentage of registration forms were started but not completed?” or “How many camp registrations occurred within two days after our marketing event?”
Using pre-built or custom reports to find the answers to questions like these will help you improve your camp’s marketing strategies, registration process, and operations.
Regpack makes it simple to generate these reports. Below is one a user created in order to figure out which customers still have a balance due for session 1:
Most of your reports will only take minutes to create and generate, allowing you to quickly make data-driven decisions about your organization.
It’s a waste to collect all that data about your customers only to hide it away for emergency use only.
Analyze it with camp management software and learn where you’re coming up short and how you can improve your camp for your attendees.
A camp management software solution can help you automate repetitive tasks, organize and track valuable data, and improve your team’s efficiency and your campers’ experience.
When choosing a camp management software platform, look for the following features: embedded forms, integrated payments, mobile-friendly design, communication tools, and reporting functionality.
Before starting to evaluate different tools, it’s a good idea to make a list of your organization’s key problems that you want to fix.
Then you can make a short list of tools that will best solve those dilemmas.
To learn more about how to find the right tool for your camp, check out our guide on camp management software comparison, which walks you through the process of effectively comparing different options.