Pulse Checks! Gathering Youth Feedback Data Between Surveys

Omar Guessous is back on the ClubX Blog to introduce a brand new resource for collecting youth feedback! Read on for a free excerpt!

I’ll be honest with you. When I first learned about NYOI 5 years ago while working with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, I was struck that it was only done one time a year. Since I transitioned to the National Office and I’ve learned about just how complicated it is to design and execute such a HUGE national survey, I now understand why it’s only once a year.

Even so, when we are trying hard to learn and improve, an annual survey just doesn’t feel like enough. Especially when it comes to the data we collect that is about us—about how we’re doing by our members, or what we call our Club Experience data. If we are to truly understand what’s working and what’s not working in our Clubs, we need to collect more data more often.

As I got to talking with local Clubs, I quickly realized that this feeling is widely shared, with one important caveat- while we want to be able to get more feedback from our members, and while we want to know if the things we’re doing are making a difference, we also DO NOT want to implement more youth surveys! So many of our members are already over-surveyed and over-tested. Not to mention the difficult logistics…

I’m excited to share with you that there is a middle ground. A fun one, no less! Over the past year, I had the privilege to partner with a group of professionals from across the Movement, and together we came up with a set of tools that we call Pulse Checks. And they’re just that: a way to keep a finger on the pulse of your Boys & Girls Club. They don’t replace NYOI. Instead, they’re a fun way to gain timely insights into the Club Experience by quickly, easily, and inexpensively collecting data. I also firmly believe that they’re an effective youth development strategy because they promote a culture of openness and learning, conveying that you care about your members’ experiences and want their input.

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We’ve just released a Pulse Checks guidebook, and we’ve broken them out into three categories:

  • Poll – A great way to learn about specific aspects of members’ Club Experience immediately and anonymously. They come in two types:
    • Exit polls ask a single “Question of the Day” that member answer as they transition out of an area or exit the Club.
    • Interactive polls, where members answer a small set of survey questions using phones or tables and then discuss the results.
  • Listening Session – Basically a focus group, listening sessions give kids a safe space to express excitement, concerns, and make recommendations, allowing you to access the stories and experiences behind the data.
  • Parent Survey – Provides a difference viewpoint from crucial stakeholders. You’ll learn how parents and guardians feel about the Club, their needs and interests, and their feelings about their children’s Club Experience.

Exit poll photo

Click the image above to download an excerpt from the guidebook, How to Conduct an Exit Poll. If you are Boys & Girls Club staff, you can download the entire guide for free at BGCA.net’s new Great Futures 2025 Resource Center.

Here on the ClubX Blog, we’ll also feature stories from two Clubs that have implemented Pulse Checks. They will share what they did, how it went, and what they learned in the process, so stay tuned. You can subscribe to the blog at the bottom of this page or like us on Facebook so that you don’t miss their posts! And if you’d like to talk more about how you can use them, you can reach out to me directly at oguessous@bgca.org!


Omar

Omar Guessous has been in the Movement for 5 years, and came to BGCA from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. When he was a kid, he was so obsessed with Monopoly that he would play it daily against his imaginary friends! 

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