Written by: Travis Smith, Director of Research, NRPA
By now, chances are good that you’ve heard of NRPA’s PRORAGIS™. Readers of Parks & Recreation Magazine have probably noticed numerous features about PRORAGIS through the past few years, and attendees of the NRPA Congress and Exposition may have attended a PRORAGIS educational session or noticed the Community Center PRORAGIS display and demonstration.
In short, PRORAGIS is NRPA’s database of recreation and parks operating information and geographic information system (GIS) repository. For a more detailed explanation of PRORAGIS, read Andrea Lynn’s excellent piece from Parks & Recreation Magazine or access the 2013 Parks and Recreation National Database Report to review some of the data reports from PRORAGIS.
Just one of the many types of data you can analyze in PRORAGIS!
But how do you actually get started entering your data? And what is the first step in using this powerful tool to help improve your agency and service to your community?
Well, the first step is entering your data into the PRORAGIS Operating Survey and what I’d like to share here is how you actually get started entering your data and what you will need.
Taking the first steps into PRORAGIS by November 15, could net your agency $2,000!
It requires a bit of preparation, but this data is readily accessible for most recreation and park professionals – and in those instances where the required materials may require you to work with your colleagues to complete the PRORAGIS survey, we’ve got a few ways to make that an easier process, as well.
To get started, you’ll need the following in hand:
- Operating budget data from the most recently completed fiscal year. You can use a projection for a current budget year, but this will require you to come back and review and revise your data when it becomes finalized. When at all possible, use a completed fiscal year! This document should include breakouts of full- and part-time salaries, benefit values, and operating expenditure totals for functions managed by your department.
- Capital budget showing the actual expenditures from the prior year, and the projected capital expenditures for future years.
- Personnel or organization chart for your agency, which lists positions and a roster of full-time part-time positions.
- Attendance recordsfor your agency’s facilities and programs. Ideally, these records will capture how many people visit your facilities annually, as well as how many people take advantage of the classes, programs, and special events offered by your organization.
- A list of all parks, locations, facilities, and trails managed by your agency. If available, you should also have specific information about your assets – such as acreage of parks, location of these items, length of trails, etc.
- Demographic details for your agency’s jurisdiction. If you don’t have this information, you can likely find it through your city or county’s website, or through http://census.gov .
- Overall budget for your jurisdiction, also most likely available through your city or county’s website.
Once you have these materials, you’re ready to sign up for PRORAGIS and get started. Go here, and if you’re the first person from your agency to use PRORAGIS, click on “Create a Login” and follow the prompts to create an account for your organization. If your agency has already used PRORAGIS, you’ll need to check with the account administrator from your agency to get added to the authorized users list.
After you’ve either created your login or logged in using an existing agency account, you’ll be prompted to proceed either as a Small Agency or Large Agency. For new users to PRORAGIS, regardless of agency size, we recommend that you start by completing the Small Agency survey. This core set of questions is IDENTICAL in both surveys, and should you choose to come back later and input the extra data requested in the Large Agency Survey, the answers you’ve previously provided will transfer to your Large Agency response – how helpful is that!
The Small Agency survey is compact, and should only take 1-2 hours to complete. And, best of all, completing this Small Agency survey (regardless of your agency’s size) before November 15 makes you eligible to win up to $2,000 in cash (get details)!
Should you get hung up, or have any questions, NRPA staff are standing by to help. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the “Live Help Online” feature at www.nrpa.org to chat with an NRPA Customer Service Representative.
How would your agency use an extra $2,000 for the department? What would you do do if you knew more about how your agency compares to others across the country? Share your thoughts in the comments below!