YMCA Colombia has nine associations nationwide and is part of the World Alliance of YMCAs, spanning 120 countries. It’s dedicated to empowering and developing leadership skills in young people by offering innovative and inclusive experiences.
Juan Carlos Martínez Romo, bilingual and international area coordinator for YMCA Colombia, still remembers filling out paperwork to apply as a camp counselor for the organization’s summer camp program in Connecticut in 2010. So it’s no surprise he’s now championing Jotform to collect and manage the organization’s data digitally.
“In the past, applicants would have to mail copies of their identification, and most of the signatures were collected on paper by hand,” says Martínez.
When searching for a better process, Martínez looked to technology to reduce paperwork and optimize data. Some solutions caused issues when colleagues ran different operating systems, but most just fell short.
“None of the solutions offered the flexibility or user experience to explore more than just online forms,” he says. “We didn’t explore other e-signature options because we didn’t want to spend our funding on signatures. Jotform empowered us to explore more ways to automate.”
Martínez piloted Jotform on a YMCA bilingual and international program, and a year later, the organization was using Jotform for one of its biggest programs.
“Jotform has become one of YMCA Colombia’s greatest tools for surveying participants and collecting data, documents, and e-signatures,” says Martínez. Today, YMCA Colombia’s bilingual program couldn’t run without Jotform. “We rely on it to track thousands of pieces of information all coming in simultaneously.”
Martínez uses Jotform to organize YMCA Colombia’s international camp counselor and summer camp programs. Every year as many as 3,000 participants get the opportunity to practice speaking English in real-world settings and develop leadership skills in camps across the U.S.
Martínez designed a program application form and an interview scheduling form. Using Jotform Tables and a Google Sheets integration, he can see submission data immediately and track applicants throughout the process.
YMCA Colombia discovered Jotform Approvals when attempting to automate its summer camp certificate of participation. To receive a certificate, participants fill out a survey. The approval process ends by automatically sending a PDF attachment of the certificate to the participant. If the survey isn’t filled out correctly, the participant is sent an email requesting edits.
It’s simple to create an approval. And then everything gets done. It’s saved us a load of time. And with Jotform Sign, we can collect e-signatures for free as part of our plan!Juan Carlos Martínez Romo
YMCA Colombia also uses approval workflows to track COVID-19 vaccination status for in-person training programs.
The approvals process is outstanding. Everything we need to know to ensure our training is safe is in one database.Juan Carlos Martínez Romo
To enhance internal communications, Martínez uses automated reporting in Jotform Tables. It’s handy when hosting YMCA CEOs worldwide and smaller internal meetings.
“If my boss or someone wants specific information about a particular data entry, I can use the PDF creator to quickly provide a custom report,” he says.
Jotform is a complete platform. It makes a big impact on our work.Juan Carlos Martínez Romo
Next, Martínez hopes to build an app to give participants access to YMCA services from mobile devices. “I’m excited to explore the potential for Jotform Apps!”
Streamlining processes helped YMCA Colombia send more participants to the U.S. camp programs than ever before. In 2018, YMCA Colombia sent 120–180 participants to work in summer camps in the U.S. Recently, about 380 participants were able to attend.
Jotform has helped our communications and data processing be more fluid and comprehensive. Our team is small but growing, and thanks to Jotform, we’re faster too.Juan Carlos Martínez Romo
We tell our colleagues, “Technology is a great tool to help us work faster, raise more money, create more opportunities, and serve and impact more communities,” he explains. The people running YMCA’s social programs now use Jotform because they have seen how it helps YMCA Colombia streamline data collection and management.
Learning what data to collect and how to collect it can be challenging, especially for nonprofits with limited resources. But you need access to data to make the right decisions.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a small nonprofit or a global institution,” says Martínez. “You have to use data to make decisions. You need to understand your donors and the demographics of your community.”
His colleague Mary Rodríguez Martínez, communications and design coordinator for YMCA Colombia, agrees. “Jotform’s platform is the best for our organization,” she says.
She advises others to “explore Jotform’s platform” and look at specific examples to learn the best way to find the data they need.
You don’t need specialized skills or education to use or create the forms.Mary Rodríguez Martínez
“Adopting new technology requires a leap of faith,” says Martínez. “Jump. You won’t regret it.”
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