Afterschool Program Management Software: Learn The Basics
The tactical elements of your afterschool program management process directly impact both the quality of these programs and the value that they deliver for families. Hundreds of thousands of families take advantage of before and after care programs. Students learn and grow in a secure environment while parents rest assured that their child is cared for. However, balancing your regular management tasks, delivering educational and engaging activities, and keeping children safe can be challenging. That’s where afterschool program management software comes in.
With the right management solution, you can automate those day-to-day tasks and keep track of your students all in one centralized platform, giving you more time to focus on the children in your care. Let’s break down the following seven areas where you can use software to simplify management, and then highlight our favorite solution:
- Improve your registration process
- Make scheduling easier
- Simplify payment collection
- Track attendance
- Communicate with parents and market your programs
- Enhance data reporting and management
- Support contactless interactions
- Explore our favorite afterschool program management solution
With structured, safe, and educational activities to participate in before and after the school day, children are more likely to score higher on standardized tests, as well as benefit in other developmental areas such as socialization and education.
When you use software to manage a before and after care program, you can worry less about the business side of your program and more about providing an exceptional experience for students and parents. If you’re ready to learn more about what software can do for the management of your afterschool program, let’s dive in!
1. How Afterschool Software Can Improve Your Registration Process
Your students’ parents are busy people, so signing up for an afterschool program should be a simple and easy process. You don’t want to run the risk of “shopping cart abandonment,” especially within your own online registration process.
With afterschool registration software, parents can easily browse programs online and register whenever is most convenient for them. You and your staff can then immediately use that registrant data to build an attendance sheet and send communications. The right software solution will ensure that the registration experience is seamless and intuitive from start to finish for both parents and staff.
Online afterschool program registration brings the following benefits:
- Increased efficiency and organization on the staff side, since a comprehensive management solution will eliminate paperwork and manual payment collection, saving hours of data entry.
- Automated registrant data collection process, streamlining and centralizing all community member data in one place.
- Efforts to become more environmentally conscious thanks to the paper-free process.
- An entirely digital and touch-free experience for those who want to minimize contact.
- Ease of use and convenience for parents as they can register and pay online 24/7 and on any device they choose.
- Reassurance for parents since all emergency or medical information can be added to a student’s registration and is immediately accessible by all staff.
However, simply offering a standalone online registration process isn’t enough. To really capitalize on this convenient and streamlined process, it should be part of a more comprehensive afterschool software system.
Key Afterschool Software Features
What are the specific registration features to look for in afterschool software? Your software should have the following:
- 100% cloud-based and fully mobile responsive design
- Easy-to-use administrative dashboard
- User-friendly and public-facing online catalog of programs
- Flexible online forms for:
- Emergency contacts
- Behavior policies
- Permission slips
- Medical information and allergy alerts
- COVID safety policies
When all of these completed forms are online, they are easily searchable and can be electronically sorted by each student, so you’ll never have to dig through file cabinets for a permission slip or emergency contact number.
2. Using After Care Management Software To Make Scheduling Easier
In addition to digitizing your registration process, afterschool management software can also facilitate your scheduling, providing you and your staff with a comprehensive look at all of your programs and attendees.
Instead of trying to keep track of all of the schedules on a paper calendar, your management solution puts the power back in the parents’ hands, offering flexible scheduling to fit their schedules. You can offer full-year enrollment, specific sessions, and a drop-in schedule so parents can pick what works best for their families.
Here are some of the top benefits of using afterschool scheduling software:
- Makes scheduling kids and staff much easier with a comprehensive and real-time view of attendance/schedules
- Ensures your program complies with any capacity restrictions or safety measures
- Increases convenience for parents as they have a variety of enrollment options, as well as the ability to quickly pivot registration to account for schedule changes or sick days
Software with these scheduling capabilities is a great way to add value to parents’ experiences while giving you the tools to manage it all from one comprehensive place.
Key Afterschool Software Features
To tap into the benefits listed above, ensure your afterschool software has the following features:
- Flexible enrollment options
- Capacity and waitlist management
- Onsite attendance reports and real-time attendance data
Along with these top features, ensure that your management solution also offers integrations with your existing Student Information System (SIS). This makes scheduling much easier, as you can sync existing students into your management software and ensure that your student database is always up to date.
3. Simplify Payment Collection with Afterschool Software
Now that parents have registered and scheduled their child, your job is to collect payments on time and make sure that the online process is secure. With afterschool program management software, you can spend less time chasing parents for checks and more time focusing on the children.
Consider these top benefits of taking the payment process entirely online:
- Increased security and efficiency for both parents and staff as there’s no more hassle of collecting, keeping track of, and depositing checks
- More efficient financial reporting because payments are integrated with your registration and other management processes
- Convenience for the parents as they can take advantage of discounts, easily put down a deposit, get billed automatically, and even set up a payment plan
Online payment processing can make managing your afterschool program easier, reducing stress for both your staff and your attendees’ parents.
Key Afterschool Software Features
Payment processing is an important part of running a successful afterschool program. With the afterschool management software you use, make sure you’re leveraging the following features:
- A proprietary and/or fully integrated payment processing solution
- Customizable billing periods and pricing structure
- Automatic bill pay and card on file options
- Automatic late payment fee feature
- Application of late pick-up fees
- Application of full or partial refunds and credits
- Acceptance of registration deposits or partial payments
- Flexible spending statements for parents
Your solution should also be PCI compliant and accept all types of payments. Checks, e-checks, credit, debit, and even cash payment options should all be offered and processed securely.
4. Track Attendance In Afterschool Software And Keep Students Safe
When it comes to taking attendance at your afterschool program, there are two essentials that your staff must focus on: efficiency and safety.
When equipped with the right tools, attendance tracking at your after care program is not only much smoother but also provides a better chance of keeping students safe. The right afterschool program management solution can bring the following benefits:
- An entirely digital, contactless attendance-taking experience
- Increased efficiency and safety with digital check-in/out
- Parents’ peace of mind that their child is accounted for in real-time
Attendance tracking at your after care program is a breeze when your onsite staff members are equipped with tools that allow them to take attendance quickly and easily.
Key Afterschool Software Features
When choosing afterschool software for your program, make sure that your solution includes digital attendance features that emphasize efficiency and safety without sacrificing either. Equip your staff with a tablet or laptop so they can:
- Digitally check in and check out students as needed
- Authorize pick-ups with signatures and photos
- Access emergency information in real-time, whether it’s medical details or contact information
- Identify all absent students as soon as digital attendance is taken
When all of this information is at your responsible leader’s fingertips, you can keep track of exactly when, where, and which students are expected on any given day.
5. Communicate With Parents And Market Your Programs with Afterschool Management Software
For various reasons, the ability to quickly communicate with parents is crucial. From emergency closures to updates on the students to new programs you’re offering, ensure that you can actively and effectively communicate with parents.
Make this process easier for your staff by using afterschool program management software that makes communicating with parents an intuitive and streamlined experience. Don’t just rely on simple tools like Gmail! With your afterschool management solution, you can do the following:
- Mass email the entire parent community (or specific segments) with key information, whether it’s to announce upcoming events or registration dates or to send class-specific updates to smaller groups of parents
- Send time-sensitive announcements like late payment reminders, weather cancellations, or other sudden closings
- Provide a valuable experience for registrants with promotions and other content specifically catered to them
Along with emailing parents, some software solutions also offer the ability to send text message communications! This is great for time-sensitive announcements that need to reach parents or students, like an early dismissal because of weather.
Key Afterschool Software Features
When your communications tool is a part of your afterschool program software, you’ll never have to worry that you’ve forgotten to reach out to someone. The integration between your messaging features and your student database will make emailing and texting parents, either individually or as a group, easier than ever. Make sure your afterschool program management software has the following features:
- List creation and filtering for segmented communication
- Personalization of emails and texts
- The ability to add attachments
- Scheduled transmissions so that you can draft the perfect message and send it at the best time
In addition to using these features for routine communication, afterschool program management software can even make your marketing tactics more effective. Quickly let families know about upcoming program offerings or expansions, and encourage them to tell their friends or colleagues.
6. Take Your Reporting And Data Management To The Next Level With Afterschool Software
No matter the industry or business, data should be the center of your decision-making processes. This exact rule of thought should be also applied to your afterschool program management and the tools you use.
Keeping your programs running smoothly and efficiently is one of the highest priorities for your aftercare staff. Using data to improve your processes is the best way to expand your programs in the coming seasons. Software solutions can then leverage this data to compile reports and provide key insights.
Here are some of the top benefits you can expect when you use software to track and manage your data:
- More informed and educated decisions to grow revenue
- The ability to quickly pinpoint areas of weakness
- Sustainable programs that can handle a growing registrant pool, manage staffing, generate rosters, and monitor capacity
- Increased convenience for staff members as reporting process can be automated
- Improved report and analysis accuracy by removing potential human error
The great thing about investing in a comprehensive management solution is that you can collect your data in one place. Instead of making gut decisions, use the data collected by your software to analyze what’s happening at your aftercare program to make better, data-driven decisions for the future.
Key Afterschool Software Features
When looking at various before and after care management software, you should note the reporting capabilities. You should be able to create the following:
- Late pickup reports, so that you can charge subsequent fees, better understand your community’s schedule, and perhaps expand your hours.
- Attendance reports, so that you can monitor student/faculty ratios and adjust as necessary. This can even help you comply with contact tracing!
- Financial reports, to better understand your revenue streams and trends.
- Late payment reports, so that you can charge subsequent fees and keep track of which parents are behind.
Ensure that you not only have report templates but also report design tools so that you can analyze the data that you need, the way you want. This way, you can visualize and understand every aspect of your afterschool program in a quantifiable way.
7. Use Afterschool Registration Software To Support Contactless Before And After Care Programs
We’re living in a time where many in-person engagements and programs are on pause or modified. There might even be strictly limited capacity and gathering restriction orders directed by your state. Because of this, your before and after care programs might be running at a lower capacity (or perhaps not running at all).
However, as mentioned earlier, your programs are essential for communities. Having the tools and capabilities to run your before and after care program while still ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for all is imperative.
If a contactless and touch-minimal program is something that you want to promote, you can use your afterschool management solution for the following:
- Ensure that staff and students are kept safe with capacity limits and digital check-in/out for attendance
- Allow the bulk of staff and parent communication and engagement to happen online
- Make the entire registration and payment collection process online so it’s touch-free
- Better respond to and comply with contact tracing protocols through your onsite attendance reports and email/text messaging capabilities
- Quickly access student emergency information on tablets and other devices
- Provide the ability for programming schedules to quickly adjust and respond to recent events or a major crisis
- Use online forms to customize specific policies for families to agree to and sign electronically
No matter the reason, your afterschool registration software should help support contactless before and after care programs.
CommunityPass: Best Afterschool Management Software
Your students deserve the best care and your full attention, both of which are made possible with a full-featured and comprehensive software solution.
This is where CommunityPass comes in.
CommunityPass is a leading software provider for before and after care program management. We offer everything from online registration and simplified payment collection, to digital attendance and comprehensive reporting capabilities, all from a single platform. And, this can be an entirely contactless solution to ensure that your before and after programs are safe for all.
With CommunityPass, you have the following advantages:
- 100% cloud-based and fully mobile responsive design.
- A public CommunityPass registration website where parents can browse the program catalog, search for specific activities with filters, view announcements through the message center, and even download flexible spending reports.
- Simplified payment collection with our fully integrated payment processing solution.
- Fully customizable online registration forms.
- Customizable billing periods, auto bill pay, and automatic late payment fees.
- Flexible scheduling options, including full-year enrollment and occasional use registration plus easy schedule changes.
- Safe and contactless authorized pick-ups with access to photos and signatures on a tablet or computer.
- Access to emergency student information within a centralized database on a tablet or other device.
- Unlimited outbound email and text messages. This includes the ability to create email lists using filters for more targeted marketing and communications, as well as allowing parents to opt in/out of marketing-related emails.
- Integrations with financial software and student information systems.
- Comprehensive reporting on individual child care locations or roll up all data from multiple locations into reports, helping you understand which sites are thriving and struggling.
- 300+ pre-built reports as well as a customizable report building tool.
- Ability to explore statistics on attendance, capacity, and finances with the click of a button.
- Transparency and easy financial management with a financial dashboard for admin users. This includes the ability to reconcile payments with registrations.
- A dedicated professional implementation and training team, as well as 24/7 customer support when you go live.
Even during a major disruptive event like a global pandemic, the CommunityPass solution can support an entirely contactless experience. Take advantage of our contactless arrival and dismissal procedures, digital attendance, online registration and payment, and communication tools. Better yet, we can set specific class limits and provide attendance reports to comply with contact tracing.
CommunityPass knows that with before and after care management, students and parents are a top priority. With the tools and capabilities we offer, parents can go along their day peacefully without worrying about the safety of their children, and whether they’re being actively enriched. Manage all of these processes online and from one comprehensive platform, benefiting both your staff and your community.
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:
- Afterschool Programs: What are the benefits of afterschool programs? Learn more from the experts at youth.gov.
- Recreation Management Software: A Complete Go-To Guide. Learn more about how implementing software into your recreation management strategies can better engage your community members.
- Membership Software For Pools, Swim Clubs, & Aquatic Centers. Help your community’s aquatic centers better manage their members and offer exciting programs.
- Camp Registration Software: Have Your Best Summer Yet! Learn more about how implementing software into your day camp strategy can help you have the best summer yet.