We have been working with One Hope Canada for over 3 years. As with many of our clients, One Hope Canada uses Regpack in a unique way that serves their exact needs. About 10 of the 38 camps in the One Hope Canada family using Regpack for camp registration (read about Kenosee Lake Bible Camp’s experience with Regpack). The home office overseeing all 38 camps in the One Hope Canada network also uses Regpack to manage their staff and volunteer application process.
One Hope Canada really needed to streamline their application process for staff and volunteers. There was no consistency between applications across the 38 camps, and some applicants wanted to apply to more than 1 camp, and their old process didn’t make it easy to accommodate this. With Regpack, now the application is consistent across the board, but with room for each camp to adjust it to fit their exact needs.
One Hope Canada is a great example of how scalable Regpack’s platform can be for a variety of organizations based on their individual needs, including non-profit camps like One Hope Canada. Read on to learn more about how One Hope Canada is using Regpack as an affordable solution for their non-profit to manage the important work of recruiting volunteers and staff to further their amazing mission.
Thanks to Bill for taking the time to chat with us!
Bill, tell me about One Hope Canada and your role as Co-Executive Director.
One Hope Canada is a children and youth ministry that reaches Canadian children and youth. We have about 38 actual camp locations that stretch from coast to coast. So from Pender Island, which is on the Gulf Islands just off of Vancouver, all the way east to Cape Breton. Every summer we have close to 19,000 children and youth come through our camps.
My co-leader and I are responsible for giving overall leadership to the organization.
What process were you using for registration prior to Regpack?
Part of us embracing Regpack was one more step in all of the changes and renewal that’s been happening within the organization over the last 4-5 years. Previous to that, we were very decentralized. Our camps operated somewhat independently. It created a lot of inefficiencies. We would have 8 different paper staff applications. Maybe 1 province was more organized, so they’d have a fillable PDF. I remember when I started 8 years ago, I was a provincial director. And the national director said ok, we’re going to make a consistent staff application form. We all looked at our own versions and we spent an hour and a half figuring out a consistent one.
When we started 5 years ago, one of the things that the leadership team had highlighted as a weakness was the inefficiencies that came up with us having a provincial mentality. So we worked hard at breaking that down and asking ourselves how we could be most effective in directing, encouraging and equipping the front line to fulfill the purpose of One Hope Canada. And part of that was a consistent application process for our summer staff and volunteers. We have close to 3,000 people who work at our camps every summer.
We had to come up, first of all, what questions we wanted to ask, and then find a tool that would allow us to roll that out that wasn’t paper. Most of our summer staff and volunteers, I’d say 80% of them, are under 22 years old. So paper is just not a thing. It’s actually an obstacle to having our young staff apply to work at our camps. So once we solved the consistency problem of what are we going to be asking and what does the application look like, we had to find a vehicle for getting it out there that would be effective for the demographic of our staff. So, that’s why we chose Regpack.
We really believe in taking baby steps before we walk, and walk before we run. So I think the first summer we only had 5 or 10 camps, and we’ve been increasing it every year. So our goal is by Summer of 2018 to have all of our camps using Regpack for recruiting and summer staff selection.
The other reason why this was important for us to do a cloud based system is getting rid of paper, which is an obstacle. But a lot of our staff were returning. So we did not need, again, the obstacle of manual applications (which are 4-5 pages) for our returning staff. Birthdays don’t change, for example and all of the other information that is static and we already had on file didn’t need to be collected again. With Regpack, we’re able to use a username and password to login. And since most of the information is static, applicants can just review it. And then the few items that we want to be sure staff updates, like tell us areas you’ve grown in the past year, we can do that with Regpack. This has made the application process easier since it now takes less time to complete.
We also need to keep these records on file forever. Regpack just made sense. Rather than having binders of paper, now we’re able to reduce all of that work and retain of all of those records permanently.
We actually wrote an article this year on our blog all about how paper actually ends up costing more money than a registration software, for exactly this reason. What you pay admins to manage all of the paper, you can save by going online.
The administrative resource center, which is spearheading the online staff application process, we spearhead it and then do the training for our front line. But it’s actually the front line, these 38 camps, where they have a summer staff person processing these applications, so their time has been reduced. We hear stories of the time savings from those camps.
Why did you look for another system to manage your registration process?
Regpack wasn’t our first choice. We had a bad experience with another product. So when we went with Regpack we had some definite requirements that we needed. One was, it had to be 100% cloud based and it had to be designed for the cloud. There are some more, what I refer to as legacy solutions, that try to port into being a cloud based solution or a server based solution. And you can tell by the design that it lacks intuitiveness. So for us, a 100% cloud based solution that was intuitive, and that looked great was a must.
For us, looking great is part of it being intuitive. If it looks ugly or there’s not a design element to it, it’s not going to read well. It’s going to be one more obstacle for a young adult using the system. They will go through the process, but a lack of design will put a bad taste in their mouth.
We’ve been around for 90 years. As we went through this renewal, we wanted the face of the organization to not like 90 years old too. We wanted something that looked good and worked well. Cost was also important, as we’re a non-profit. So that was huge. And lastly, something that gave us the ability that our 38 camps could have a level of customization that would work for them, yet consistency for us as a national organization. We have to keep those 2 things in tension. Regpack fit the bill on all of those.
How has Regpack changed the way your home office and camps are able to work together?
A potential staff member can apply online and select more than 1 camp. Their application will then be reviewed by those camps selected. So, in the past that applicant had to send in a paper copy to each camp they were interested in. Now we have this one portal where you can apply to more than one camp.
The fact that all the information is in one place has reduced the amount of administrative work. It used to be that reference checks or criminal record check had to be triggered from a human being. Someone had to manually look at each applicant and say, we have this part done so now we have to send out the reference checks. Whereas now, because the process is so self-guided, all of that stuff is automated. That has saved admin time.
We’re also getting really great feedback from our camps from their staff. I would say that the camps who have embraced the system and really jumped in with this, are seeing their staff apply sooner in the year. Paper takes more time. You have to find a printer, etc vs just going online. And I should mention, Regpack is also mobile friendly. I can access from my iPhone, tablet, wherever. So our camps are getting staff quicker because they are online.
It’s hugely helpful to planning for the year. Good, effective staff is our number one obstacle to having more campers go through our camps. So many of our staff or volunteers are volunteering their time or receiving a small honorarium. We do that to keep camper costs low so that our camps are accessible to low income families. That means we’re competing against summer jobs, or other camps that pay more. So the more we can remove obstacles to applying and getting staff in, and quicker, the better!
What feedback have you received from the camps who are using Regpack to manage their camp registration?
Brad and Alison love Regpack and are huge fans. As a home office, we tell our camps we love Regpack. We know it’s the best camp software out there and we know they give great support. Our camps that are using Regpack love the support they get. We had one camp that was using another software provider and when they compare support between Regpack and the other software, it’s like night and day.
And you know sales people, they promise you the moon but you don’t know what you get until you’re into it. Now having been into Regpack for 3 years, Regpack truly delivers on backing up your product. That’s huge, huge for our camps.
Would you recommend Regpack to other camp professionals? Why?
3 reasons come to mind.
- Responsive and effective support. That’s huge, especially for someone in the trenches.
- The intuitiveness and the look of the product. For our demographic, removing obstacles for young adults to apply and work at our camps, having a great looking product and putting a good looking registration process out there to use is important.
- The fact that we can set it up so that multiple sites can see only what is relevant to them, and we have the ability to maintain the consistency that we need and yet at the same time and provide a level of customization for each camp, that is huge. You bundle all of that together with what we think is one of the most cost effective products on the market. That’s a win-win for us as a non-profit.
You get those 3 things and you’re not going to be paying for it. The value for what you’re paying is, we believe, the absolute best with Regpack.