Foothills Area Family YMCA: PMA’s Client Spotlight


Each month, the PMA Blog will feature a past/current client that is making exceptional progress in advancing its mission and vision.  The showcased client will typically exhibit strategies that are timely and speak to challenges and opportunities facing us all.

This month’s Client Spotlight is Foothills Area Family YMCA (YMCA), based in Seneca, S.C. and presently focused on the execution of a capital campaign.  PMA was contracted by the YMCA to help assess campaign feasibility and facilitate planning and implementation in pursuit of a $6-8 million goal, the construction of a permanent membership facility, and the subsequent enhancement of programming and endowment.

Despite initial plans to launch directly into pre-campaign capital development, YMCA staff and volunteer leadership embraced the need to first address recent disclosures and perceptions with the potential to obstruct future development.  The organization underwent a preventative communications plan with a focus on effectively managing communications, enhancing transparency, maintaining the integrity of organizational leadership and advancing campaign viability.

Five key components were included in the plan in order to manage communications through a formal, clearly defined channel:

1. Communications Policy – The policy helps the YMCA identify the individuals within the organization who interact with the media and public, with consideration given to the tone of each response.

2. Communications Checklist –  Ensures messaging be factual with proactive steps considered prior to interaction with the public. Also, steps and effectiveness of “going public” are able to be measured.

3. Positioning – Everyone within the YMCA is identified and understands their position and any potential conflicts of interest and the effects they have on the entire organization.

4. Detailed Plan – Everything from assessments and internal notifications, to record keeping, communication updates, and evaluations are part of a comprehensive and detailed plan.

5. Timeline – The organization follows a strict schedule of planning and implementation, while tracking internal and external communication.

Also important for the YMCA’s success was to create a process for engaging with stakeholders about the YMCA’s capital campaign. Meetings were arranged with the sole purpose of informing stakeholders about the campaign, without any idea of solicitation of financial resources. As stakeholders have a vested interest in the process, PMA developed an agenda for the YMCA to follow as it moves forward that would allow for a more open, fair and methodical process.

As noted by Executive Director Anna Connelly in a November, 2011 press release, “We hope this RFP process will yield opportunities for the YMCA to open its doors widely to exceptional program offerings,” said Executive Director Anna Connelly. “We need to reach much deeper into our service area than ever before and exponentially increase its access to programs, facility, outreach and enrichment activities.”

While transparency, methodicalness, and community involvement are often challenged by leadership seeking to streamline activity, the YMCA has demonstrated that these notions are basic to success.

Staff and volunteer leadership recently credited PMA’s process and procedure with “bringing positive public relations and inspiring lead funding,” and continue to work with the firm to further campaign planning and implementation.

For more information about the YMCA’s capital campaign, please contact Executive Director Anna Connelly at ceo@y4all.org.  For general information about their mission and vision, please visit their website at  http://y4all.org/.

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Categories: Nonprofit

Author:pattonmcdowell

Patton McDowell & Associates is a consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits and charitable foundations achieve their goals. We maximize an organization’s resources and help it achieve strategic efficiency.

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