We spoke last week with Daniel Sourani, Coordinator of Israel Engagement and the Diller Teen Fellows Program at the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. They have been using Regpack to register teenage applicants to their Fellows program for the past year. The Diller program in Toronto focuses on engaging 20 of Toronto’s top Jewish leaders and has a lengthy application process. Since Daniel and his staff value quality over quantity when it comes to their selection process, it is no surprise they valued a teen program registration software that could meet their exact needs.
A small staff means not a lot of manpower to dedicate to wading through tons of paper applications, so an online registration form that would allow applicants to fill out information in the comfort of their own homes and on their own timetable, as well as the ability to upload important documents, was essential to the success of Daniel’s program.
Read on to find out how Regpack has helped get the Diller Teen Fellows program going in its debut year in Toronto and how Regpack’s support team goes above and beyond to assist our clients, big or small, in managing their online registration and more!
Tell me about the UJA Federation of Toronto and the Diller Teen Fellows Program. What is your role at the organization?
The Diller Teen Fellows programs is a new initiative we’re introducing to our community in Toronto with our Federation. Essentially it’s engaging teens in a 15 month long program which culminates in a trip to Israel at the end. I oversee the Diller Teen Fellows Program and I also work on Israel engagement with our Federation’s youth. Our Fellows program this year has 140 participants.
What kind of information are you collecting?
We are taking all of their standard information (name, address, etc.), why they want to apply to the program, and essay questions. We’re also asking them to submit pictures of themselves and reference forms, which they are able to upload online. Regpack is basically a spot where all of that information is coming together. Rather than have to receive all these things at different times and file them appropriately we’re able collect all of our data in one place, and then access that information from everywhere, which is huge for us.
When you took on the Diller Teen Fellows program, did you actively seek out a teen program registration system like Regpack to manage your registration or did you consider using a paper application in the beginning?
It was something we were looking for. Other UJA’s in the US who offer the Teen Fellows program in their communities are using a pretty long paper application.We figured if we could find some type of system online that does what we need and could cut us down on the human resource element so that we didn’t have to spend more man hours putting in information and could focus on really what we do best, which is the program itself, recruitment, the educational components, and logistics, then we’d be far better off.
So we did a bit of research and we did find a few options. With credit to Cheryl, our Regpack Account Manager, she walked me through the system. We were sold when we spoke to her, she was just fantastic. She made it seem like the system was everything we needed and so far, she’s been right.
Do you think the cost of the system is worth it?
For us and what we need it for, it is definitely worth it. It’s almost a no-brainer. Having our participants, and this is one the added benefits of the system, always have to go back to our website to add more information, it really makes our website a destination where we are engaging with our participants on a consistent basis. Because they have to go to our website in order to complete the entire application, we’re able to get more information and content out to them.
If you could go back in time knowing what you do now of Regpack’s system and tell yourself the main reasons why you should use this system, what would you say?
Most importantly would be Calvin, a technical project manager at Regpack. The support that I get from him with our system is tremendous. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’ve been so incredibly impressed the support so in and of itself that would be huge reason for me to work with Regpack. I know companies all the time talk about 24 Support or 365 Support and how great support they offer, but I’ve never seen a company stick by that statement as well as Regpack. Even on Thanksgiving weekend, I sent Calvin an email and he had what we needed done the next day! That kind of support is just so unbelievable. So for me, knowing that someone is always there is huge. I would say that is my first and foremost reason to go with Regpack, is the support and attention I get regardless of the size of my organization.
The flexibility of the system is another reason I’d recommend Regpack like the automated trigger emails and the reports. Also the fact that it’s cloud based allows me to go anywhere with my laptop or even with my smartphone, if I’m meeting with committee members or board members or anyone that’s involved with this program, I can show that information and create those reports anywhere I am.
How have you been using the Reports function and has it been useful?
All the stakeholders are interested in seeing where our participants are signing up from, what kind of demographics are we reaching out to. So being able to pull up basic information, like male and female counts, rather than having to put that information into the computer and somehow sort it in excel and figure all that stuff out, just being able to ‘click, click’ and find those numbers within a few clicks is super helpful. More importantly, using that information with our current systems and seeing if we’re tapping into current donors and past donors, and things like that we’re able to also see. If we’re reaching new touch points within the community or if we’re just tapping into existing ones. So for us, being able to export that information and use the reports that are there already is just fantastic. And it will absolutely help us with the second year of the program and beyond, we’ll have a targeted approach to what we’re doing in the recruitment process.
What has been the feedback from participants and their families about the online application?
It’s mostly been positive. Participants love that they can fill out a part of the application, save and come back later. For them, this is tremendous. An overwhelming amount of our feedback has been completely positive. The fact that they’re able to see everything in real time and go back and edit things, and also talk to us about their application, they love it. I would say they wouldn’t want it any other way.
Having worked with other registration systems, both paper and custom built, would you prefer using another online registration set-up now that you’ve been using Regpack?
I would say I wouldn’t go back to them. I’ve worked with some that have been custom designed by developers, some that were not. I haven’t experienced a system that is as seamless to integrate, that is as robust as what Regpack offers and really the support for me is just the home run. My takeaway would be if I didn’t go Regpack I would have gone manual even though I’ve experienced other systems I’d just never want to deal with that headache ever again. I know participants found it incredibly frustrating to use some of the other systems. For instance, other didn’t let you save, you had to complete everything in one shot and the system would sometimes time out, so it was just a mess. I definitely would not go in a different direction, it would either be paper or Regpack.
Thanks again Daniel for taking the time to chat with us! We wish you continued success with your Fellows program this year and a safe trip to Israel with your participants in 2013! Learn more about what the Diller Teen Fellows are up to here! Learn more about the awesome support Regpack can offer and see the system in action!