Susquehanna Township, PA, Achieves Digital Recreation Management
Keys to Project: :
Inclusive, affordable, and scalable functionality
Modernize its processes for scalability.
CivicPlus Recreation Management software.
Significant increase in applications and ultimately revenue.
A suburb of Harrisburg, Susquehanna Township is connected to nearby Marysville by the Rockville Bridge, the world’s longest stone-arch rail bridge at its completion. A community proud of its diversity, it also maintains a mix of urban and suburban areas, ensuring that is a living style achievable for everyone.
The Township’s Parks and Recreation Department is going through what can only be described, according to Parks and Recreation Director Doug Knauss, as a renaissance. Its leaders have been making strategic decisions regarding department structure and program offerings to ensure they meet the community’s needs. Part of that process involved the implementation of CivicPlus’ Recreation Management software.
I’ve been through software replacements in the past when I’ve outgrown systems, and it’s never ideal. Knowing that I can definitely grow with CivicPlus over time and knowing I’m not going to have to go through a change or conversion down the road was also appealing.
Parks and Recreation Directo
The Recreation Management Software Consideration Set
When Knauss began searching for a recreation management software to enable Susquehanna Township to modernize its processes, he first considered some software options with more limited functionality and less scalability, thinking at first that such an option would better fit his budget.
“I’ve had experience with several software systems in past positions. I know that with smaller systems, every feature you need is an add-on, and smaller companies often can’t accommodate unique needs. I had also used ActiveNet and didn’t like the functionality’s redundancy and wasn’t satisfied with the company’s support. Then I started to consider CivicPlus’ Recreation Management system. It could fit our budget, and I liked the scalability of it because I knew our Department was only going to grow and expand what we’d need from a recreation management system.”
Another critical consideration for Knauss was choosing a long-term partner.
“I’ve been through software replacements in the past when I’ve outgrown systems, and it’s never ideal. Knowing that I can definitely grow with CivicPlus over time and knowing I’m not going to have to go through a change or conversion down the road was also appealing.”
Modernizing Program Management and Registration
According to Knauss, as the Township restructured and recommitted to consistent, engaging programming, it also committed to making it easy for the public to register for classes, activities, and events and reserve facilities.
“CivicPlus’ Recreation Management software and its online registration functionality was the key for modernizing what we do,” said Knauss.
He adds that before CivicPlus, the registration process for residents was entirely manual.
“People would have to come into the office, fill out a paper form, and leave a check or cash. Before CivicPlus, residents couldn’t pay online.”
Before CivicPlus, 90 percent of the phone calls Knauss received during the summer months were from community members trying to register for activities.
“People can’t come into our office during business hours just to register for classes and activities. They’re working their job at that time. Now that we offer online registration and facility rentals, most transactions occur in the evening when people are home from work. It makes our job easier when people can register themselves online.”
Ongoing customer relationship management with the CivicPlus Recreation Management system is also easy for Knauss and his small staff.
“As I’m working with people who are already enrolled with our summer programs and want to add weeks or field trips, it’s just a couple of clicks in the system, and I’m done, and we can move on with our day. CivicPlus has saved me hours, and it’s opened up time for me to focus on other projects, like a playground we’re rebuilding. To offer a high level of customer service and still focus on other projects is critical.”
Year to date, the Township has received 1300 online registrations—a significant improvement from the previous year’s 500.
“We’re probably going to easily triple last year’s registrations by the end of this year.”
Making Data-Informed Decisions
Another valuable aspect of the CivicPlus Recreation Management solution for Susquehanna Township is its reporting capabilities.
“I now can run seasonal rental reports, which has been beneficial for planning and budgeting, and I can share projections with our elected officials as well,” said Knauss. “I can also validate the budget I need for renovations or replacements for facilities and items getting worn and in need of upgrades.”
A Future Filled with Growth and Potential
There’s no time to stand still for a leader like Knauss in an engaged and involved community. He and his fellow administrative leaders have plans for continued growth and program expansion.
“Both the Township and our Department have built comprehensive plans for the future. We want to continue expanding our program base to include more offerings than our adult and summer programs. We’re considering options like art classes, eSports, and preschool programming.”
Knauss is completing a Township-wide survey to gather information on what other types of programming residents would enjoy from his Department.
“Based on initial survey feedback, there is an interest in concerts and movies in the park, which will be easy to schedule and execute with our CivicPlus software.”
Ready to Connect?
Stay up to date with the latest tips and news for local governments.