Afterschool Program Management Software: Learn the Basics

 In Before & After Care

Before and After Care, or child care before the school day starts and during the period between the end of a child’s school day and their parent’s workday, is an important service that hundreds of thousands of parents take advantage of every school year.

With these programs, students are able to learn and grow in a secure environment. Meanwhile, their parents can rest assured that their child is cared for while they’re at work or attending to other responsibilities.Support the children in your care with aftercare program management software.

When children have structured, secure, and educational activities to participate in before and after the school day is over, they’re more likely to score higher on standardized tests, as well as benefit from a plethora of other developmental areas such as socialization and education.

Providing high-quality before and after care to children of a variety of ages is the top priority of administrators of these programs across the country. Balancing the administrative side of things while still having time to create and deliver fun, educational, and engaging activities for children can be challenging. But some parts of creating a healthy and effective afterschool program can be made simpler!

If you introduce afterschool management software into your process, you’ll find that you have more time to focus on the children in your care. Let’s break down the 6 areas where you can use software to simplify your process, and then highlight the most important software feature associated with it:

  1. Easier online registration.
  2. Flexible scheduling options.
  3. Simplified payment collection.
  4. Smart attendance tracking.
  5. Marketing and communications.
  6. Real-time reporting capabilities.

When you can use software to manage all of these aspects of running an after care program, you can worry less about the business side and more about the caring side. If you’re ready to learn more about what software can do for your afterschool program management capabilities, let’s dive in!

Contact CommunityPass to learn more about afterschool program management software.

Online registration is a crucial way to improve your afterschool program management processes.

1. How can afterschool software improve your registration process?

Registration is a mission-critical process for your after care program. When the parents of the children in your care register for before or after care, you want to make a good impression.

The parents of your students are busy people, so registration should be a simple and easy process. When they can register online, they’ll appreciate being able to get the job done as soon as they think about it. 

Make sure your charges' parents can register from anywhere with responsive afterschool program management software.

Plus, you don’t want to run the risk of ‘shopping cart abandonment’ on your registration pages. You might miss out on sign-ups if your registration and enrollment processes are too difficult, or if parents aren’t able to complete the process from wherever they access the internet most frequently.

The parents of your program’s attendees aren’t the only people that easy online registration helps—don’t forget that online registration makes it easier for you to manage your program! With easier online registration, you can:

  • Accept registrations 24/7.
  • Manage waitlists to prevent overbooking.
  • Market your programs more effectively with an integrated online catalog.

When picking out an afterschool registration software, look for one that’s 100% cloud-based and has a fully mobile responsive design.

Key Afterschool Software Feature

Just offering an online registration process isn’t enough. When you choose the right software for your afterschool program, look for one that digitizes the whole process. Your paperless registration should accept online forms that are customizable, including:

  • Emergency contacts.
  • Behavior policies.
  • Waivers.
  • Permission slips.
  • Medical information and allergy alerts.

When all of these completed forms are online, they are easily searchable and can be sorted by each student, so you’ll never have to dig through file cabinets for a permission slip or emergency contact number.

An afterschool program management best practice is to offer parents flexible scheduling.

2. How can afterschool software make scheduling easier?

In addition to taking your registration process online, you should offer parents the ability to pick and choose their schedules for before or after care.

Instead of trying to keep track of all of the different schedules that different families require on a paper calendar, find afterschool program management software that allows parents to choose their days.

Offer convenient flexible scheduling with a smarter afterschool program management software.Parents might not need before or after care every day, depending on their schedules, so they shouldn’t pay for what they don’t need! When your software offers flexible scheduling, parents will appreciate being able to pick what works best for their families.

Important features for parents with busy schedules include:

  • Schedule changes for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Cancellations for sick days.
  • Additions for drop-in days.

Providing flexible scheduling for the families participating in your program is a great way to add value to their experience. When they can keep your program administrators (like you!) in the loop about when they need after care, your whole program will run more smoothly.

Key Afterschool Software Feature

The most important feature to look for in your software is the ability to offer flexible enrollment. The ability to set which days of the week their child will attend, or purchase occasional-use days is a lifesaver for parents with fluctuating schedules!

This feature is also crucial for your management of the program because it gives you a more accurate view of when to expect students to attend. You can forecast attendance and gauge how many staff members you’ll need on different days.

Easy payment collection makes managing your afterschool program much easier.

3. How can afterschool software improve your payment collection strategy?

Now that parents have registered their child for before or after care, your job is to make sure that they make their payments on time. Your afterschool program software can help you and your staff with this process, too—so you can spend less time chasing parents for checks and  have more time to focus on the children.

Your afterschool management software should allow parents to submit payments in-person and online securely and accept all types of payments: checks, e-checks, credit, debit, and cash payment options should all be easy and safe.Your aftercare program management software should empower your charges' parents to pay from anywhere.

With a trustworthy system of payment collection, you can make your payment process so much easier for both your staff and your parents. Other functionalities you should have are:

  • Automatic bill pay and card on file options for parent convenience.
  • Application of late pick-up fees.
  • Application of full or partial refunds and credits.
  • Acceptance of registration deposits or partial payments.

Online payment acceptance and processing can make managing your afterschool program easier, reducing stress for both your staff and your attendees’ parents.

Key Afterschool Software Feature

Payment processing is such an important part of running a successful afterschool program that we’ve included more than just one software feature to look for.

Our top 4 payment collection features are:

  1. A proprietary and/or fully integrated payment processing solution. When your software comes with its own payment processor, you don’t have to worry about dealing with an external customer service portal to ensure that your community gets refunds or credits back. Plus, you’ll know that your customers’ data is always secure.
  2. Customizable billing periods. Every after care program is different, so make sure that you can reflect that individuality in how you charge parents for care. Email bills and reminders to parents with just one click, and then automatically collect their payments online.
  3. Customizable pricing structure. Pick software that allows you to offer multi-child discounts, early registration discounts, or scholarship options, as well as enables you to apply registration or late payment fees. Parents will appreciate payment flexibility as well when they’re able to pay for a full year or weekly/monthly.
  4. Flexible spending statements. Offering parents access to these statements in their accounts comes in handy during tax season! They’ll appreciate the ability to find these statements easily whenever they need to.

Making payment processing as easy as pie will help keep your after care program running smoothly, and increase your program’s revenue stream in a reliable and sustainable way. 

Use afterschool program management software to make taking attendance easier than ever.

4. Track attendance in afterschool software for smarter predictions.

When it comes to taking attendance every day at your afterschool program, there are two characteristics that your staff has to focus on: efficiency and safety. Make attendance tracking at your after care program easier than ever when your site staff members are equipped with tools that allow them to take attendance quickly and easily.

Your afterschool program management software should allow you to access the attendance interface from an internet-enabled device like a tablet and check students in or out from any of these devices across your site.

This increases the safety of your students because you can keep track of their location in real-time, and the efficiency of your staff because they can conveniently check students in or out from wherever they are with just a few simple clicks. Make sure that your afterschool program management software makes it easy to check students in and out from anywhere.

Key Afterschool Software Feature

When choosing afterschool software for your program, make sure that your solution includes digital check-in and check-out features that emphasize efficiency and safety without sacrificing either.

Your easy-to-use interface should allow parents to drop off or pick up their students using a tablet or a touch-screen computer. With features like authorized signatures and photos, parents can also rest assured that their child is always in the hands of someone they trust.

Make sure that site leaders are able to do the following from any interface:

  • Check kids in and out quickly.
  • Track student attendance.
  • Look up check-in and check-out times.
  • Identify absent students.
  • Access emergency contact information.

When all of this information is at the responsible leader’s fingertips, you’ll never have to worry if something has been forgotten. You should also be able to use your afterschool software to print out smart sign-in sheets that indicate where, when, and which students are expected to attend on any given day.

Increase the popularity of your afterschool program with marketing and communication features.

5. Afterschool software can help you communicate with parents and market your program. 

The parents of your students want to know about how their child is doing and what they’re learning about while participating in your afterschool program, so make the process easier for your staff by using software that makes communication a breeze. Your afterschool program management software should allow you to easily communicate with parents.

Use your software to communicate with parents or guardians about:

  • Their child’s development or improvement.
  • Upcoming events like holiday parties or competitive tournaments.
  • Open enrollment dates.
  • Payment periods.
  • Weather cancellations and holiday closings.

When your communication tool is a part of your afterschool software, you’ll never have to worry that you’ve forgotten to reach out to someone. The integration between your communication features and your student database will make emailing and texting parents, either individually or as a group, easier than ever.

In addition to using these features for routine communication, it makes your program’s marketing tactics far more effective. You can let your dedicated families know about upcoming program offerings or expansions, and encourage them to tell their friends or colleagues.

Key Afterschool Software Feature

Your after care program staff should find software that allows them to communicate with and market to parents. Whether they’re inviting parents to an end-of-year luncheon or reminding them about late payments, they should be able to do so quickly and easily.

Some crucial aspects of your messaging tool are:

  • List creation and filtering for segmented communication.
  • Personalization of emails and texts.
  • Attachments.
  • Scheduled transmissions.

For more information about what you can do with an effective messaging tool, check out this short video about Message Manager from CommunityPass.

Improve your decision-making with real-time reports from your afterschool program management software.

6. Afterschool software can improve your reporting and data management. 

Make better decisions with reporting driven by your aftercare program management software.One final strategy for improving your afterschool program management capabilities is to make data the center of your decision-making process. Instead of trying to make gut decisions, use the data collected by your software to analyze what’s happening at your after care program to make better, data-driven decisions for the future

Keeping your programs running smoothly and efficiently is one of the highest priorities for your after care staff, so using data to improve your processes is the best way to expand your programs in the coming seasons. 

Plus, automating your reporting process through software saves you time and money and ensures accuracy by removing potential human error. You can use your automated reports to make plans for the future, so prioritize an automated reporting feature when choosing software to help you improve your afterschool program management process.

Key Afterschool Software Feature

While there are certain data points that every afterschool program collects and analyzes, there is also probably data that your unique organization needs to be able to report. That’s why the software feature that is most important to your future success is a combination of both pre-built and custom reporting options.

Pre-built reports are a crucial feature for your software because they make it incredibly easy to create reports to address many of your business needs. Your software should come with report options such as:

  • Late pickup reporting, so that you can charge subsequent fees and better understand your community’s schedule.
  • Attendance reporting, so that you can monitor student/faculty ratios and adjust as necessary.
  • Financial reports, to better understand your revenue streams and trends.

You should also be able to create and run custom reports so that you can visualize and understand every aspect of your afterschool program in a quantifiable way.

In Conclusion…

This might seem like an overwhelming amount of information to keep in mind while trying to make the right software purchase for your afterschool program. And it’s true! But your students deserve the best care and your full attention, both of which are made possible with a full-featured and comprehensive software solution. 

Lucky for you, there’s CommunityPass. CommunityPass is one of the industry’s leading software providers for before and after care software. We offer everything from online registration and simplified payment collection to one of the most comprehensive reporting capabilities, including over 300 pre-built reports and our customizable Report Builder tool.

For more information about afterschool program software as well as day camp and sports league software, check out a few of our favorite additional resources:

Contact CommunityPass to learn more about afterschool program management software.

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