ACC Western Camp: Streamlining Operations
Neil Palesh is one of those Cognito Forms users who's been with us almost since the very beginning. In fact, you may have seen our FMI Edmonton spotlight showcasing another of the organizations he volunteers with.
Neil also manages the ACC Western Camp for his church. In that role, he's used Cognito Forms to help them streamline nearly all their administrative functions. He creates online forms for everything from registering guests to managing volunteer interest. And he reaches deep into what Cognito Forms can do to create functionality that replaces manual processes with automated ones at every level of camp management.
"We use almost every new feature as it rolls out," explains Neil. "We've built a whole suite of products that work together to make running our camp easier and more efficient."
Creating robust registration forms with repeating sections
The church camp welcomes the entire family, so parents and children often register together. Neil helps make this easy using repeating sections that expand as necessary to accommodate multiple registrations on the same form. He adds conditional logic that only shows options that apply to individuals as they proceed through the process.
Through it all, the system has proven to be very reliable, dynamic and holistically accommodating for our needs.—Neil Palesh, Business Advisier, ACC Wesern Camp
He's also built complex calculations into his forms that are smart enough to adjust to changes. If someone adds or removes a family member, upgrades or downgrades their accommodation, or makes any other modifications, the form automatically adjusts the balance due.
"These calculations even work with our camp's variable fee structures and add-on options," he explains. "Through it all, the system has proven to be very reliable, dynamic and holistically accommodating for our needs."
Connecting parents, guardians and counselors
The camp also uses notification emails, conditional logic and read-only fields to create a workflow that enables parents and guardians to easily sign children up for camp.
Whenever a parent registers a child to attend camp alone, he or she automatically receives the medical and liability forms to complete and sign. The guardian is automatically notified with a link to the form, the fields completed by the parent as read-only. Once the guardian signs a copy of the competed form it's sent to both parties and retained in the camp records.
This results in an efficient and secure process that reduces time and effort for everyone involved.
Processing fees in installments
The camp allows attendees to pay their fees in installments before camp begins. Neil employs the card-on-file feature to enable this functionality within Stripe. By doing so, he's removed the manual labor from these installment payments.
"This is great for everyone," he says. "It prevents attendees from having to write multiple checks or complete future forms to process payments. This eliminates the need to send payment reminders or make multiple trips to the bank to deposit paper checks."
Merging documents to provide tax receipts
To help donors save money on their taxes, the camp provides receipts to businesses and individuals who make donations. With his knack for creating automation, Neil has elevated this process to be as polished and professional as it is simple.
"We use the document merge feature to create official tax receipts that look like they were hand-prepared by one of our staff members," he explains. "We don't have to do any additional work, and can deliver professional-looking receipts for our donors."
Putting data to work
This year, Neil also began using a Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) integration to create two spreadsheets using information he collects during camp registration. The first automatically populates a real-time registration list available for all camp attendees to view. This tool helps create excitement for the event and encourages additional registrations.
The second integration creates an Excel spreadsheet that places a volunteer's stated availability onto the camp's activity schedule. Camp staff can then easily allocate resources to ensure activities are safe, enriching and enjoyable.
Building for tomorrow
From creating operational efficiencies to controlling expenses Neil and his team at the camp are an excellent example of what can be done with Cognito Forms. We wish him, the camp staff and volunteers as well as the campers an enjoyable time this summer!
And we look forward to seeing what he'll do with the new features we'll be releasing over the coming months.