The 5 Best Things We Learned About Automation at Community Centers from Matt Lenner

Matt Lenner is the Director of Finance & Information at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center in Toronto

Alanna Crochetiere
Alanna Crochetiere
August 22, 2023 2 min read

We were extremely lucky to have Matt Lenner, the Director of Finance & Information at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center in Toronto, host a webinar for us about his experience with tech at his organization. He walked us through how modernizing your processes with automation and empowering your members to self-serve sign ups and bookings helps you overall improve customer service at your center and the impact you have on the community.

If you missed the webinar and wish you hadn’t, you can watch the recording here.

But if you are just curious about some highlights, then you came to the right place. Check out our favorite quotes from the session and why we think the implications they emphasize could be game changers for your community center’s future.

1. “If you advertise an event that says call now as the only option, how many people are not going to register?” (11:46)

Why we love it: Matt’s giving a great example of how customer service is not one size fits all. Though some members or residents might want a phone call, when you are thinking about good customer service you should be also thinking about the people you aren’t reaching and how you could be reaching them. By giving the option to sign up online and call, you are giving more members the option that will get them there.

Online Purchasing

2. “Part of offering good customer service is creating as many positive touchpoints as possible” (13:06)

Why we love it: The reality is that when you are serving a large group, such as thousands of members, the types of service they encounter varies from welcoming them in, to signing them up, or to actually running the activities or events. Some might go well and others... not so well. But by building a base of automated touchpoints like email confirmations and reminders, you can work towards ensuring that the majority of your members’ touchpoints are positive – giving them that overall positive impression of your community center.

3. “Since 2020, 65% of 4000 memberships sold were purchased by the members themselves. That’s over 2000 people that we did not have to have staff be available for to enter their information” (15:11)

Why we love it: This one (and the next) are for all you numbers lovers out there! Matt demonstrates the business impact of bringing membership sign ups online to a user-friendly platform by showing just how many memberships they were able to process without lifting a finger. It also shows us that if you offer it, the demand is there for this easy and convenient way to sign up for membership.

Online Registration

4. “Since 2020, 90% of 150 000 activity registrations were signed up for by the members themselves. This stopped a ton of complaints because our previous system was so antiquated that people would show up and would only discover then if the class was full or not.” (15:44)

Why we love it: This one shows that once members are set up with a JCC Miles Nadal account on the center’s activities management software, nearly all their members book all their activities online through that platform. In addition, the second part of what Matt said shows how the platform gives members a place to access more information about each activity ahead of signing up or showing up in person, improving the overall experience they have.

5. “With the time saved by automating processes and no longer needing staff for data-entry, we were able to make thousands of wellness check-in calls to seniors during the pandemic.” (17:09)

Why we love it: This one takes us away from the number crunching but pulls directly on our heartstrings. The fact is that during that time, this type of outreach to seniors was needed and really made an impact for those individuals. Matt demonstrates the power of pulling staff off of repetitive, low-impact tasks and focusing their time on initiatives that really make a difference in your community.


With so much talk these days about “innovating”, “automating”, or “modernizing”, it can be easy just to see them as buzzwords. Thanks to Matt Lenner and the team at the JCC Miles Nadal in Toronto, we can get a thorough perspective and clear examples of what that could mean to your community center. If you’re curious to find out more about their story, watch the webinar here.

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