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Meet Our Customer
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. Their network includes more than 60,000 park and recreation professionals and advocates. NRPA champions the work of their members and supports the field through professional development, advocacy, grants and programs, research, publications, and more.
We spoke with Michael Biedenstein, Volunteer and Awards Manager; Karen Carter, Librarian/Senior Manager of Information Services; and Hayley Herzing, Senior Manager of Membership to learn more about how upgrading their Higher Logic Online Community to a Higher Logic Thrive Community helped NRPA level up their resource library and reignite staff and member passion.
Higher Logic Products & Services
A Thirst to Thrive
When Higher Logic announced the new Higher Logic Thrive Community, NRPA immediately saw an opportunity to improve their popular online community, NRPA Connect. They aimed to be one of the first organizations to implement the new product. NRPA Connect is their number-one member benefit, and usage increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. They wanted to invest in their members, refresh design, and build out their resource library.
The document library in NRPA Connect houses over 4,000 member resources, which have been collected over 8 years. NRPA wanted to make this library easier to navigate and more user friendly so that members would always be able to find what they were looking for.
In addition to cleaning up their document library, NRPA sought to leverage the new logged out homepage to better display the value of NRPA Connect and, ultimately, of membership to prospects.
“It’s been an awesome opportunity to engage people who haven’t navigated to our NRPA Connect community in a long time, or who have only been engaging with the daily digest emails.”
Leveraging In-Person Momentum
NRPA undertook an enthusiastic timeline with a goal to launch their new community alongside their large annual conference – leveraging what they see as the “big crescendo” event to drive awareness of the new community features and to inspire wider adoption of NRPA Connect among members and staff.
Given NRPA’s ambitious goal, the team at Higher Logic offered guidance on how they could begin preparing internally for implementation – by examining their communities and resources and planning library folder structure – even before their test site was ready.
NRPA prioritized reimagining their library from top to bottom – they didn’t want to change a lot without cause, but they aimed to be intentional about which assets should move over and which shouldn’t.
“Having the upgraded Thrive Community has excited us to play around more – to use automation rules and other tools – in a great way. It’s not only built up our members’ enthusiasm but staff enthusiasm as well.”
Excitement All Around
NRPA has been blown away by the enthusiasm for the new NRPA Connect community. From the moment they launched the community at their conference, members have been sharing positive feedback and excitement. Though they were able to repurpose a lot of what they already had, members say it feels brand new, modern, and even easier to use.
And it’s not just members who are sharing excitement – they’ve seen a major impact on staff as well. When the NRPA implementation team shared the demo for the upgraded Thrive Community, they saw eyes light up. Processes that were bumpy or time consuming in the past are being made better by using Thrive. Staff have been inspired to create new resources for the document library and are eagerly using automation rules to save time on member outreach. They’ve also been brainstorming new ways to use NRPA Connect for small-group facilitation – things like committee, board, and award management – which may help NRPA avoid investing in additional software.
Having something new to share also presented a marketing opportunity – NRPA has built fanfare around the launch of their upgraded community and reconnected with members who hadn’t been using the community as well as nonmembers who haven’t joined yet.
“If I had a quarter for the number of times members said ‘I didn’t realize the community had that’ – when it had it all along! Upgrading to Higher Logic Thrive let us package it in this new, modern way, with improved navigation and UX, and it’s drawn new attention.”