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South Dakota Firefighters Association

South Dakota Firefighters Association

When you’re an officer in a statewide volunteer organization, there is no such thing as having extra time on your hands. Take the South Dakota Firefighters Association (SDFA) for example. The SDFA has 6,000 members, and a small group of volunteer officers oversees it. When it comes to organizing the annual fire school, managing registrations is number twelve on a list of the top ten most important tasks to be accomplished. “We have to squeeze in these jobs when we have time,” says Rick Gustad of the SDFA.

Before turning to Learning Stream, the SDFA used an online registration system built just for their purposes. However, the system could not be updated easily, which left fire school organizers scrambling each year to set up the online registration process just before the fire school began. The SDFA turned to Learning Stream which makes such updates easy. “The huge issue is the time savings, because we don’t have to task someone with handling it. It frees time up for more productive tasks,” Rick says.

Avoiding Conflicts

The self-registration aspect alone saves the SDFA a lot of time. But the association also leverages another feature in Learning Stream that prevents firefighters from signing up for classes occurring at the same time. “Part of the reason we picked Learning Stream was because of times associated with each class. You can avoid scheduling conflicts,” Rick says.

That used to be done manually. We ended up with conflicting classes and had to contact the registrant to straighten that mess out.

Now, students know immediately if there is a conflict.

A Clearer Future

Rick says the SDFA always has an eye on the future when they collect registrations. Learning Stream helps with that, too, by making it easier to collect and analyze demographic data, which is available via comprehensive reporting. “That data has allowed us to tailor future events towards our target audiences, and also perhaps offer classes specific to a demographic we don’t feel we are getting enough attendance from,” he says. “We can make sure we have an appropriate mix of classes that are custom tailored to our attendees.” He says comprehensive reporting also helps in overall management of the SDFA.

Rick also appreciates Learning Stream enhancements made since he became a user, including introducing mobile friendly pages and one-off name tag printing of day-of event walks-ins.

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