The Case of Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District - Leveraging Data to Make and Back Decisions

Posted by Camille Belanger on Nov 25, 2021

Discover how 110% and SmartRec can help your organization create a financial sustainability strategy while considering both your community’s needs and fiscal reality.

Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District (FORPD) serves around 35,000 residents. Their mission is to maximize all available resources to deliver well-maintained parks, high quality recreation facilities, programs, and events so that they can become the primary recreation provider of choice for the Fair Oaks community.

For Chelsey Adams, Recreation Supervisor, this meant being cognizant of the agency’s expenses and revenues, knowing what works vs. what doesn’t, and achieving more with the resources at their disposal.

Chelsey shares her experience while working with 110% and SmartRec, and how data and cost recovery impacted the Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District and community in this Q&A!

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In what context did you start looking for a different software?

We needed a new solution when we found out that our previous one was going to be discontinued. We looked at several options and even did a few demos, but when we asked agencies around us which ones they were familiar with, SmartRec came up.

What made you choose SmartRec?

The online experience is very user friendly for our participants. A lot of our constituents would come to our offices to register before – because they struggled with the previous system. But now they can easily register from home! Another big push for us was that SmartRec could help with cost recovery because of its partnership with 110%.

How would you describe working with 110% and the Cost Recovery team?

The cost of service analysis process was enjoyable, and working with 110% and the Cost Recovery team was amazing. It was great working so closely with Eric Perowne on the data collection, review, and import for 2019 and 2020. Working with Farrell Buller and Jamie Sabbach at 110% on the final data and service categories helped us set our standard/benchmark for where we would like to be as a district in the future. Our team learned a lot about the importance of being consistent when adding and tracking new programs in SmartRec in order make the import process easier.

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What were your objectives coming into the Cost Recovery process? What were some of your “AHA!” moments?

Mike Aho, our District Administrator, wanted to know how much our direct and indirect costs were affecting our programs – He had worked with Jamie on a process while at another agency, so he initiated the Cost Recovery exercise. He really wanted us to set some goals and standards so we can achieve more. Now that we have this software and are trained on the cost of service analysis and use of the Cost Recovery tool, we’re trying to figure out how we can make the most of it to help not only our district but also our community.

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How did the Cost Recovery process help your team and organization?

It was great to see where we stood as an agency versus where we actually want to be. It opened doors for great conversation on current programming and where there was room for improvement when implementing programs or services. The entire process helped us see that the areas we thought were recovering their costs, were in fact, not; we have started conversations on why and how to make changes over time to resolve the issues.

What are some community related challenges that you are hoping to work on with SmartRec, in relation to your Cost Recovery process.

With our preschool, we’re at a middle price point in our area, but looking at our data we realized we could charge a bit more because it’s justified. Whereas, we have a yoga class that we’ve offered for 30 years but it isn’t making anything, so maybe that’s a class we need to phase out or get creative to find ways to boost participation.

What are the long-term goals the District is hoping to accomplish with SmartRec and Cost Recovery?

Our long-term goal is showing our Board and our community that we are going to put their tax dollars towards initiatives that benefit them directly! Using their input and our data to justify why we make the decisions that we make as transparently as possible on where our time and money is being spent.

We have a section on our website called Transparency and we have a monthly Board meeting. Katy Coss, our Recreation Superintendent, and I regularly present insights and data we get from our Cost Recovery process at the Board of Directors meeting so we can be aligned. We want to make decisions backed by data as much as possible.

What advice would you offer organizations in your industry that may be experiencing the challenges you faced?

Do your research. Do the demos, ask the hard questions, put out a community survey to find out what’s important to your constituents. Rely on agencies around you who are using software that you are interested in to share their firsthand experience.

For cost recovery – if this is something the software can help with, it’s a no-brainer. For us, it was one of the main reasons we chose SmartRec. It’s an all-in-one program. I can literally toggle between my SmartRec account or my Cost Recovery tool. Additionally, the support team has been extremely helpful for us. I cannot say enough about how amazing they are!

Interested about Cost Recovery? Click here!

You have questions about SmartRec? Click here!