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3 Secrets to Choosing the Right Camp Software

ACTIVE Network
August 11, 2021

Camp directors are always seeking new tools and technologies to streamline day-to-day operations—and provide the best experience possible for campers. Modern camp management software offers a bevy of features to help you manage and grow your camp. But how should you go about finding the best platform to fit your program’s current and future needs?

Use these tips to help guide your search for camp software—and choose the perfect technologies to grow your program:

1. Choose Camp Software to Streamline & Connect Systems

There are tons of useful software tools at your camp’s disposal. For example, online camp registration software helps your team phase out complex, paper-based registrations in favor of simple, intuitive online forms. You’ll find plenty of software designed to simplify individual parts of your camp’s workflow. But here’s the problem: all of the work you do is interconnected.

Say you buy a basic online registration tool for your summer camp. It has sleek templates to match the look of your website and makes the registration process faster for parents. The only issue? It doesn’t integrate with your email and marketing software. Suddenly, you’re manually sending reminders to parents so you can collect required forms for each session—and wondering if the time you saved upfront was worth the new headache.

The key here is to prioritize software that seamlessly integrates with your existing camp technologies. Any new software you pick up should complement and connect all the other parts of your camp, from engagement and registration to day-by-day management. This step will help ensure that your software properly communicates and works as one, saving you time and creating a much faster, more convenient experience for customers.

2. Focus On Quality of Features vs. Quantity

When buying different camp management software, you’re often comparing huge lists of features to see which fits your unique checklist of needs and wants. In this situation, it’s easy to fall into a habit of assuming that a listed feature is a thoughtful, effective feature as well, which isn’t always the case. 

For instance, if you’re comparing two types of camp marketing software, both might include “email marketing” on their list of bells and whistles. That tells you nothing about the quality, flexibility, or use cases for that feature. If you need to create beautiful, on-brand emails across different target audiences, then basic options and bare-bones templates won’t cut it. The same goes for automating and scheduling those emails. 

When in doubt, focus on the unique problems your software must solve—and create individual scenarios to test your options against. The more granular and specific, the better. Here’s an example to get you started:

“My team has trouble with account management, including canceling registrations and providing refunds. We need a simple, 360-degree account management tool to support those tasks. We’d also like to capture and record notes on family or individual accounts through this software, so everyone on our team can stay in the loop.”

With this, you can ask potential software partners more specific questions about their account management features—and point to how they handle cancelled registrations and refunds in particular. Remember, the right camp software should perfectly match your camp’s specific needs. Get into those details, and you’ll quickly sort out the right options from the wrong.

3. Prioritize Flexibility & Ease of Use

One of the hardest parts about selecting camp management software is predicting the future needs of your program. How much will your camp grow within the next five years? How will your processes and customers change over time? You can’t know all the answers to these questions, which is why flexibility is so crucial for camp software. 

Flexible camp management software is designed to grow alongside your camp. It can be tweaked and changed as your needs evolve, so you never end up feeling limited by your platform. A few examples might include: 

Scalability: You want camp software that can scale up to accommodate more registrations and families as your program grows.

Customization: The best camp software can be customized to match your camp’s unique branding, whether that’s through custom registration forms or email templates. 

Pricing & Discounts: Flexible camp software offers different pricing options, including discounts and promotions—as well as the option to charge for extra items (like camp merchandise).

Ease of use is another essential trait in camp software. Now more than ever, campers and families expect a simple, streamlined signup process with little to no paperwork. The same principle applies to your own staff! It’s unproductive and frustrating to spend hours sifting through medical forms, waivers, and other documents to register campers and keep track of accounts. 

Long story short, pick a software platform that’s flexible and easy to use: both for you and for customers! It'll help you avoid unneeded frustration, work more efficiently, and create a solid foundation to scale with over time. 

Find the Right Camp Software Today

Get in touch with ACTIVE for a free demo of our camp marketing and management software. You can also reach out with any questions you have on camp management software—and how to invest in the right technology for your unique camp and community!

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