YMCAs in Canada have been working together for stronger YMCAs and greater impact since 1912. This past year, YMCA Canada helped member Associations to collaborate in important new ways: adopting shared branding, embracing strategic alignment, and connecting with digital tools. Canadian YMCAs have affirmed the power of both local autonomy with national and global cooperation. Here are some steps we took in 2011 toward strengthening YMCA member Associations, and enhancing the YMCA's national and international presence and local impact. Find out how…
At our May 2011 AGM, all YMCAs approved the directions for the new federation strategic plan (PLAN Y), setting YMCAs across Canada on a shared path toward greater impact through collaboration. The journey to build a stronger YMCA for a stronger Canada could not be fulfilled without deep engagement with each member Association.
We're very excited to announce the launch of the federation's new visual and verbal identity–our first ever comprehensive masterbrand–enabling YMCAs to present a clear, consistent image from coast to coast. Our new brand reflects the vibrancy of our federation and our shared commitment to strengthening the foundations of community.
“The YMCA is both recognized and respected because of the intrinsic meaning of the brand in ways that most global organizations would envy. The investment in a new verbal and visual identity for YMCA Canada is a bold and important decision to ensure that we help to clearly express the YMCA spirit which so many Canadians know and trust."Tom Zara, Executive Director, Interbrand
For the first time ever, YMCA Canada hosted YMCA Brand Camp, a conference for member Associations to learn about the new YMCA brand, hone their communications approaches, and share best practices for engaging their communities. A new marketing and communications 'community of practice' was formed, and 120 representatives from across Canada were in attendance.
“This year Canadian YMCAs came together to craft a coherent story about the work we do in our own communities and across the country. Our new, shared brand is an important step forward for our federation and a major asset for all of us."Shaun Elliott, CEO, YMCA of Western Ontario
A Digital Engagement Work Group was launched to help Canadian YMCAs build their capacity to engage online. The group's first offering was the development of a comprehensive handbook of tools and best practices, including online child protection policies and procedures. In 2012, the group started delivering educational webinars on a wide variety of digital engagement content.
“For over a century, the YMCA has cultivated an incredibly active and vibrant community. As the energy, commitment, and relationships that define that community come to life online, I think people will be amazed at the breadth of opportunities and the results. Given its members' digital habits and comfort with technology, YMCA Canada is uniquely positioned to lead the YMCA world in this exciting and growing landscape."Sean Moffitt, author of award-winning book Wikibrands and YMCA digital engagement consultant
Associations across the country pursued operational excellence through our quality assurance program SAM 2.0 (Serving All Members). The development of a new SAM 2.0 wiki has enabled 700 YMCA staff across Canada to share ideas, news, and best practices in order to enhance performance and improve YMCA member experience. We also provided educational courses such as the Facility and Membership Colleges.
“SAM 2.0 is more than a quality assurance program. It's about making sure YMCAs are welcoming places—places that people want to keep coming back to. This increases the chances that our members will achieve the personal goals that first brought them to our doors. In other words, by achieving excellence in our operations, we deepen our impact."Nick Parkinson, YMCA of Edmonton, VP – Asset Management & Health, Fitness & Recreation
27,000 YMCA members, program participants and staff shared their experiences and opinions with us through new outcome-focused surveys. YMCA Canada designed these research tools to help YMCAs continually enhance their programs’ relevance and impact. National coordination of both participant and employee surveys yielded approximately $200,000 in savings.
YMCA Canada supported member Associations with a range of new tools for fundraising and donor engagement. This year saw the launch of the refreshed website and promotional tools, and an integrated YMCA Strong Kids public relations strategy. YMCA Canada also developed practical webinars on topics ranging from research and ethical fundraising to planned giving and corporate philanthropy. In 2011, the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign raised more than $10 million and all member Associations participated in fundraising.
YMCA member Associations have collaborated on three major shared service initiatives this year: group insurance, employee benefits, and a group procurement program. This coordination has resulted in substantial cost savings which will be reinvested in our work building healthy communities.
All Associations contributed meaningful artifacts from their history to a YMCA "Table of Stories." From a Moncton railroad spike to a cedar shake from a 1920s hunting cabin on the grounds of B.C.'s YMCA Camp Thunderbird, the objects that constitute the table combine to form a unique and powerful symbol of YMCA unity, diversity, and collaboration. Check out the video.
This year the YMCA Delivery of Service System was active in supporting the health, sustainability, and development of member Associations. Whether it's support in a time of acute challenge or sustained consultation on research or strategy, this practical network enables member Associations to help each other get stronger year after year.
“YMCA Canada provided our association with essential supports and advice when we needed it most. We are proud to be members of a strong, collaborative federated movement!"Deirdre Speers, CEO, National Capital Region YMCA-YWCA
Patricia Pelton, past YMCA Canada board chair, chaired the World Alliance of YMCAs Image and Impact Task Force. Composed of YMCA volunteer leaders from across the globe, the task force's four-year mandate is to strengthen the visibility of the YMCA global movement. The group provided oversight on an innovative global research project, Partners in Progress. YMCA Canada helped to fund "Our Way Forward," a publication of the project's initial research findings in the areas of civic engagement, youth leadership, and global philanthropy.
Canada's YMCA joined YMCA National Movements from around the world to create the Investor's Circle. The one million dollars raised by the Investor's Circle supports the global YMCA's four-year capacity-building and resource mobilization agenda. YMCA Canada, Associations and individuals have committed $232,500 over four years (2011-2014).
“The Investor's Circle is a significant four year initiative to advance the global effort to increase resource mobilization. A profound thanks to the YMCA of Canada for their outstanding leadership and investment."Johan Vilhelm Eltvik, Secretary General, World Alliance of YMCAs