A history of positive impact

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has a long history of changing lives. They offer a welcoming and inclusive community and provide their members with access to a healthy and rewarding life. Through their focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility they continue to nurture the potential of kids, help people live healthier, and support their community.

The Y wanted more members.

They had a great product to offer – with hundreds of fitness classes, new facilities, and seven convenient locations in the greater Grand Rapids area – but they were not meeting their membership or program goals. On top of that, they were on the verge of introducing a revolutionary new health and wellness facility, the Mary Free Bed YMCA, but they had to raise awareness and funding for the new facility first. They were not where they wanted to be and needed help. That’s where we came in.

We started the process with a
complete brand audit.

The audit enabled us to see what was and wasn’t working with their brand. We concluded that there were inconsistencies in their voice, logo usage, and their naming. We also found their purchasing process to be difficult – with their website being confusing, inconsistent, disorganized, difficult to navigate, and not very functional. These problems were leading to low membership numbers and program participants.

To fix these problems and inconsistencies, we redeveloped their brand positioning, support pillars, and frame of reference. Then we launched a fully integrated campaign – with TV, billboards, online, collateral, and direct mail – and developed a completely redesigned, fully functional website that was easy to navigate and made the purchasing process much easier.

To help make the Mary Free Bed YMCA a reality, we developed collateral materials to be given to potential donors in order to raise the necessary funds for the new facility. The collateral materials consisted of a Case For Support binder for substantial donors and a Mini Case For Support folder for other potential donors.

In addition, we revamped the YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin’s marketing. We redesigned the camp website, camp collateral, and direct mail. We also improved the targeting strategy to try to reach a more specific audience, allowing us to get better results while using a lower volume of materials.

The brand audit, fully integrated campaign, and website were a huge success. Following the launch, the Y experienced its 2nd best year in history for memberships and are currently on pace to have their best membership year to date. They also saw double-digit growth in program participation.

The Mary Free Bed YMCA collateral that we developed not only made the project possible by raising millions of dollars in donations, but it was also awarded the NAYDO Communication Award for Capitol Campaign – garnering praise from other Ys across the country and increasing branch awareness.

The redesign and improved targeting strategy for Camp Manitou-Lin led to a 40% increase in camp registrations – resulting in the highest enrollment number in camp history.